MUMBAI: Fifteen districts in the state have not recorded a single Covid-19 death so far in November. The month has also seen a considerable decline in fatalities and so far is the lowest monthly toll this year.
Nine districts — Akola, Amravati, Gondia, Gadchiroli, Nagpur, Bhandara, Buldhana, Yavatmal and Washim — are from Vidarbha. This region was the first to be hit by the second wave driven by the Delta variant.
It is said the first Delta case was isolated from Amravati, although experts say the origin cannot be pinpointed. The remaining districts of the region, Chandrapur and Wardha, have recorded two and one fatalities each.
Three districts from northern Maharashtra, including Dhule, Nandurbar and Jalgaon, and two from Marathwada, Hingoli and Nanded, also didn’t record any Covid deaths. From the Konkan belt, Palghar is the only district to not report casualties. A state official said some of these districts are not densely populated and have less urban population that is working to their advantage.
This month, Maharashtra has reported 591 Covid deaths, a drop from 1,013 in October and 1,645 in September. As the second wave hit, deaths started to increase from March as it shot up to 6,070 from 1,463 in February. April and May were the deadliest months with Covid claiming 29,551 and 28,664 lives, respectively.
Dhule and Bhandara haven’t recorded any deaths since April and June, respectively. Nandurbar and Washim would soon be completing 90 days of no Covid deaths.
A state analysis till November 16 showed that the majority of the deaths are now concentrated in six districts. Mumbai had the highest deaths (49), followed by Ahmednagar (46), Satara (25), Pune (23), Raigad (14) and Thane (14). Another 14 districts reported deaths but in single digits.
Zero deaths shouldn’t push them into complacency, cautioned Dr Shubhash Salunkhe, a member of the national Covid task force. “This is a good sign, but we cannot afford to slow testing or surveillance at any cost. Maharashtra was testing up to 3 lakh but now it’s down to one lakh,” he said.
On Wednesday, Covid fatalities in the state rose to 41, the highest in 11 days, though new case detections remained under 1,000 (960). The city added 251 cases and four deaths.
(Inputs by Bhavika Jain)