NAGPUR: While all 11 districts in Vidarbha are experiencing the best ever phase in the Covid-19 pandemic over the last four weeks, the Maharashtra government is still not issuing relaxations from the level 3 restrictions.
After Pune and Nagpur municipal corporations issued their notifications, it was expected that district collectors and municipal commissioners in Vidarbha, where the overall positivity is less than 0.3% on average, will issue similar notifications. But, nothing of this kind happened in any of the districts or municipal corporations.
The irony is that the conditions are far better than Pune and Nagpur in the rural and tribal districts of Vidarbha – like Bhandara and Gondia. But restrictions are more in these districts than in Pune and Nagpur cities.
Bhandara had reported zero ‘under treatment patient’ for three days while Gondia is also on the way to gain Covid-free status. However, experts say bringing all districts at this level is scientifically impossible.
“I think our authorities are expecting zero Covid situation, which means no cases, no under-treatment patients in all districts. It’s unwise and unscientific,” said infectious disease specialist Dr Nitin Shinde. “We have already wasted two months of economic activity in Vidarbha,” he added.
Epidemiologist Anand Thatte said that ‘zero Covid’ is a hypothetical situation. “Virus will be there forever. It will keep infecting people. As long as we are not getting serious cases, hospitalizations, oxygen requirements, and ventilators; there is no point in counting the declining number of cases,” he said.
“I think Vidarbha already has seen its worst and we will continue to see some number of cases on and off for next one year,” he added.
A senior member of the Covid task force said he has been repeatedly raising the issue in every meeting that Vidarbha region deserves more relaxation. “Almost two weeks have passed since schools re-opened in Vidarbha’s rural areas. If the situation had been so grim, we would have started reporting a significant spike in cases. Nothing like that has happened,” he said.
There are only 144 patients under treatment in Nagpur district, and 469 in entire Vidarbha region. This means only 613 active cases in Vidarbha region. More than 11.18 lakh people have already got infected on record. As per the official record of the state government, near 91 lakh population of Vidarbha has already been vaccinated with at least one dose of vaccine as on August 9.