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  • Writer's pictureTejendra Kumar Meena

Covid -19 & impact of 2nd wave in Maharashtra

Updated: May 7, 2021


Covid-19 2nd wave effects the India
Image by Ria Sopala from Pixabay

The second wave of Covid-19 in India and especially in Maharashtra appears to be quicker than the first wave. It is squandered Novel Corona Virus second wave that India is facing, and its disastrous impacts on economic well-being and people’s lives are being underestimated. In the second week of April 2021, 126789 cases of Covid infections have been added, with an average infection load of over one lakh for the past one week, and now the spread of infection cases is more than three lakhs per day. India now not only had the unpleasant record of highest infections in the world but we have stepped up of our September 16, 2020 peak of 97894 cases. The Novel corona virus that had affected Maharashtra in Covid wave-1 was the worst pandemic experience that Maharashtra had ever faced. Hospitals ran out of beds and daily wage laborers have returned back to their native places which was a scene of restlessness for India’s leading GDP contributing state. The first wave taught a great lesson, ‘Health is Wealth’ and that has to be followed indispensably.


For the first time in the last 111 days, in mid of March 2021, Maharashtra had witnessed 25681 new cases along with 17 fellow states. More than two-thirds of new cases are from Maharashtra, witnessing an explosion in the total cases from urban and peri-urban areas. In the previous year, when Covid was in peak, out of more than 90000 reported fresh Covid cases in India, Maharashtra accounted for only 24000. On September 1st last year, the highest number of cases reported was close to 25000 but in March 2021 the number was about 26000. April 2021 had witnessed a sudden spike in Covid cases ranging between 40000 to 60000 per day but as a relief, in the last two weeks state had witnessed a substantial decline in transmission rate from a high of 1.38 in February to 1.13 now.


Cases in Maharashtra

While it took 243 to register 20 lakh cases from July 9, 2020, to March 8th, 2021, it took just 47 days during the second wave i.e from March 9th, 2021 to April 24th, 2021 to register 20 lakh cases!

Medical Officer taking sample for Coronavirus
COVID-19 Testing

Tests in Maharashtra

The state has done 2.5 crore tests roughly to date. During the first wave, it took 222 days i.e from May 5, 2020, to February 1, 2021, to conduct roughly 1.25 crore tests while it took just 112 days from February 2, 2021, to April 23, 2021. It shows two things. One, the number of tests has increased during the second wave and so is the positivity rate!


What is being done?


Very recently Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope has said, the second wave of Covid-19 has brought in before the administration a slew of challenges, including finding adequate oxygen and Remdesivir supplies. The state had not received sufficient support from the central government for addressing the second wave in the state. Be it oxygen supply, to life-saving drugs like Remdesivir, and vaccines, repeated requests from the state have not been catered to by the central government.

After repeated requests by visionary chief minister Shri. Uddhav Thackeray, the central government had approved 435000 vials of Remdesivir drug. Chief Minister also repeatedly requested the central government for oxygen but looks like the demand is not considered by the central government. The state government’s efforts toward minimizing the spread of infection and taking care of marginalized sections are worth mentioning. Under the ‘Break the Chain’ initiative, prohibitory orders are placed till 1st May 2021 while taking care of the social security of the vulnerable sections. Initiatives like providing highly subsidized wholesome food in INR. 5 through ‘Shiv Bhojan Scheme’, a monthly incentive of INR. 1500 to 12 lakhs construction workers, the aid of INR. 1500 to 5 lakhs registered hawkers and 12 lakhs rickshaw pullers, are some pro-poor measures taken by the state government. The state government has also focused on availing benefits through social security schemes such as covering 35 lakh beneficiaries under Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojana, Shravan Bal Yojana, pension schemes by providing two months advance pension of INR. 1000. The state government has also intimated the citizen before lockdown, thoroughly discussing with various stakeholders. It also announced that free vaccination is provided to all its citizens.

Maharashtra, the country’s largest state in terms of contribution to the national economy, is witnessing the economic impacts of stringent restrictions imposed by the authorities amid rising Covid-19 infections. Since the surge of the 2nd Covid wave to the 2nd week of April 2021, Maharashtra alone has an estimated loss of INR. 40000 crores. Maharashtra’s economy contributes 14.2% to the country’s gross value added, in Financial Year 2020-21 the state economy contracted by 8% in real terms, and in nominal terms, it contracted by 5.6%. Maharashtra’s fiscal deficit increased to 3.3 % of gross state domestic products against the budget estimate of 1.7% for the year and 1.9% in the last financial year. It is also estimated at 2.2% of the GSDP for the financial year 2021-22 as per the estimates. Maharashtra had witnessed the highest fiscal deficit since the financial year 2006 as per the estimates of the financial year 2021.


Way Forward

The state government is enhancing health infrastructure in Mumbai, Pune, and in the Vidarbha region by increasing the oxygen beds, ventilators, isolation beds, and quarantine facilities and results started to show up in Mumbai with transmission rate declining. At the same time considering the importance of life, restrictions are already imposed to break the infection chain; if we do not break the transmission chain it will garrotte us. Livelihood is important but saving a life is a greater preference. Post the state government intimation over lockdown, few districts are enforcing night curfews, lockdowns, and weekend lockdown but these limited measures may have limited impacts on subduing the transmission Now, the state government has to focus on mini and micro containment zone strategies, ensuring active participation of district administration. The cumulative efforts of central and state government along with district administration shall fetch better results and the life and livelihood of thousands can be saved.


Written By-

Tejendra Kumar Meena

References

1. K.C., S. (2021, April 24). Cocid-19 in Maharashtra Districts that are driving the surge in the second wave. Retrieved from Hindusthan times

2. Maharashtra, C. (2021, April). Aaple Sarkar. Retrieved from Government of Maharashtra

3. Mishra, M. (2021). Covid- 19, 2nd wave may cost India Rs. one lakh crore. New Delhi: India Today.

4. Nahat, P. (2021). Covid-19: Maharashtra economy braces for the second wave. Mumbai: Bloomberg Quint.

5. Nandi, S. V. (2021, April 15). Explained Ideas: Will the Covid-19 second wave derail India's economy? Retrieved from The Indian Express.

6. Shilpa Jamkhandikar, R. J. (2021). 'Much. much worse' than first wave: Maharashtra hit hard by the coronavirus. Mumbai: Mint.

7. Vignesh Radhakrishanan, S. S. (2021, March 27). Data | How quick is the second wave of COVID-19 in India? Retrieved April 24, 2021, from The Hindu.


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