Coronavirus in India: Festivals are super spreaders

Despite the muted Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, the daily growth in Coronavirus cases in Mumbai on September 10 was the highest during the period.

While festivities across the country have been subdued, the government is justified in telling people to maintain social distancing and asking them not assemble in large numbers during the festival season. An FE analysis of infections during Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra and Mumbai shows festivals can be super spreaders.

West Bengal is already showing a spike in infections—the state recorded its highest daily addition of 3,677 cases on Friday. If the situation is not to deteriorate, the state administration needs to be strict with devotees during the Pujas.

Bihar too needs to be careful as politicians prepare to hold rallies ahead of the elections.

Despite the muted celebrations, the daily growth in cases in Mumbai on September 10 was the highest during the period.

Also, infections were rising at 0.87% daily a fortnight before September 3, but between September 3 and 17, this pace was a higher 1.21%. This compared with the highs reached in July when the government was opening up the economy in a graded manner.

Mumbai had added 15,752 infections for the fortnight ending September 3, but on September 17, the case addition jumped to 25,791. While the rate of growth in daily infections has since declined to 1%, Mumbai is now adding nearly 30,000 cases every two weeks.

For Maharashtra, the growth rate in case infections increased from 1.9% to 2.2% between September 3 and September 17. For the fortnight ending September 3, Maharashtra had added 1,82,450 infections to its tally but, between September 3 and September 17, it added 2,77,377 cases.

A new joint study titled “National Supermodel of Covid-19”, released by IIT-Hyderabad and IIT-Kanpur, shows that after Onam in Kerala infection probability increased by 32%, but effectiveness of medical response dropped 22%. So, the likelihood of people getting infected increased, and likelihood of patients responding to treatment decreased.

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