At 15,166 COVID-19 cases, Mumbai logs highest single-day surge: What lies ahead for the financial capital as infections rise
Scientists have forecast that the financial capital will see the peak of the third coronavirus wave between 6-13 January and that fatalities could be the highest in first week of February
Mumbai saw an all-time COVID-19 high on Wednesday when the financial capital recorded a whopping 15,166 new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours — the highest since the outbreak of pandemic in 2020 — with three related deaths.
Mumbai had seen 11,163 cases in a day on 4 April 2021, at the peak of the second wave.
Mumbaikars are now panicking about the sharp rise in coronavirus infections, with many wondering what will happen next.
Here’s what experts believe will happen and how the city is prepping for the worst.
Mumbai coronavirus infections
Mumbai’s civic body on Wednesday in their daily bulletin reported a rise in the COVID-19 tally by 15,166 cases. The daily cases rose by 4,306 from a day ago.
With this, the financial capital's overall coronavirus infection count has jumped to 8,33,628, while the toll increased to 16,384.
The daily bulletin noted that of the cases reported on Wednesday, 87 percent were asymptomatic and 1,218 COVID patients were hospitalised.
Mumbai, one of the worst-hit cities by the second wave of COVID-19, has been witnessing another surge believed to be fuelled by the highly transmissible Omicron variant which has triggered global alarm.
Facing this rise in cases, Mumbai has imposed a series of curbs across the financial capital.
A state of near lockdown is in effect with an order prohibiting people from visiting beaches, open grounds, sea faces, promenades, gardens, parks or similar public places between 5 pm and 5 am daily till 15 January.
Furthermore, in case of marriages, whether in enclosed or open spaces, the maximum number of attendees shall be restricted to 50 persons and for funerals the number of people has been capped at 20.
What lies ahead?
Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar had announced on Tuesday that if the daily COVID-19 cases crossed the 20,000-mark, a lockdown will be imposed in the city as per the Union government's rules.
The mayor said BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal has been keeping a close watch on the situation, and he has already hinted about the lockdown, if the COVID-19 cases in the city rise over 20,000.
"Today, no one wants a lockdown and it certainly shouldn't be imposed, as just now everyone is recovering from it. If the lockdown is enforced again, it will badly affect everyone. But, if the daily COVID-19 cases cross the 20,000 mark, a lockdown will be implemented by the civic body and the state government as per the Union government's rules," Pednekar said.
Meanwhile, scientists from the prestigious Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) have stated that Mumbai will see a third wave peak between 6-13 January.
They, however, added that the death toll is likely to be 30 to 50 percent of the 5,232 deaths witnessed during the second Delta wave, adding that the fatalities could be the highest in February first week.
According to a report published in the Times of India, professor Sandeep Juneja from TIFR's school of technology and computer science said, "We should see the peak in cases between 6 and 13 January."
"It will take another month for cases to come down while peak fatalities will be seen around the first week of February," he added.
The same report also quoted BMC additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani as saying that the cases may peak around mid-January with 20,000 cases.
How is Mumbai preparing?
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, or better known as BMC, has directed private hospitals in the city to prepare for the worst-case scenario and ordered to increase their share of beds for Covid-19 patients.
A News18 report said that BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal has directed 142 private hospitals in Mumbai to restore their maximum number of COVID beds by 10 January. The BMC staff will begin inspection of private facilities from 11 January if directions have been followed.
According to BMC officials, the third wave is expected to last in the city for four to five weeks on the basis of the experience in South Africa, where the Omicron variant was first detected.
It has been reported that Chahal said that considering the fact that 10-12 percent patients are symptomatic every day, the requirement of hospital beds is likely to increase sharply now.
"Since more than 95 percent cases are being detected from non-slum areas, there is tremendous demand for seeking beds in private hospitals. Patients are reluctant to go to COVID jumbo hospitals and BMC hospitals," he was quoted as saying.
Chahal also added, “It has come to my notice that symptomatic Covid patients are pointing out the need for Covid beds in private hospitals. Therefore, all private hospitals are hereby directed that they shall immediately spruce up the number of COVID beds to the highest level which existed during the peak of the second wave in 2021.”
According to Chahal's directions, all private hospitals shall restore their peak level of COVID beds by 10 January.
With inputs from agencies
In view of the protection available to people, even if they get infected, it will be very mild and most of the time asymptomatic, Rakesh Mishra, currently Director, Tata Institute for Genetics and Society (TIGS), Bangalore, said.
The government said that 94 percent of India's adults have been administered the first dose of a COVID vaccine, while 72 percent are fully vaccinated
Is third COVID-19 wave finally starting to ebb in Mumbai? Fourth straight day of declining cases hints at answer
On Tuesday, the financial capital logged a drop of 2,001 COVID-19 from the previous day and the test positivity rate has also plunged from 23 to 18.75 percent within 24 hours