Corona vs Mumbai, Mumbai will win soon!

Three days ago I was speaking to ‘someone’ and he boldly declared – Post July 15th, Mumbai will be fine. I kept debating and finally lost my cool and said one thing that I regret. Later that day, I checked Mumbai data very carefully and I agreed with him. Yes, while testing was an issue and fatality rate remained high, many things were looking good . Here is his data

So what made me also conclude Mumbai was doing well?

  • Google data again and again told us that Maharashtrians were not venturing out as much as other States. I constantly track commute time in Mumbai and since lockdown started, I saw commute times reduce by 40% and post unlock-1, there were still lower by 30%
  • Dharavi which houses about 3-4 lakh people (Please note, not 1 million) was thoroughly controlled over the last 4 weeks.
  • Many wards were displaying very low numbers and growing at a very low pace. Even after considering lower testing, the numbers would not have been high
  • Fatality rate had increased because of lower testing (The denominator of cases comes down) but not by much and one reason more people were dying is because of the share of old people was very high and secondly we were generally not a fit city

But for me, the final piece of evidence was two days ago when BMC sent my society a letter asking everyone to be screened with Pulse Oximeters and Temperature Guns. These Pulse Oximeters measure how much oxygen there is in your blood. A level lower than 95% signalled there was a problem (not necessarily Corona but important to then test) and it needed a test. And Yes, they wanted it to be done every week from now!! They were not doing it everywhere but in vulnerable societies. The point is, when you get the community engaged in testing and monitoring, you can’t lose. We saw this in Bangalore with Corona warriors, we have seen that in slums in Mumbai as well. There is enough evidence now!

What if Mumbai also completed 4.2 lakh tests like Delhi?

Total number of Cases (assuming same positivity rate as March to June) in Mumbai would have been 97000 cases or 27000 cases higher. In other words, Corona in Delhi would have been much lesser than Corona in Mumbai. But here is the catch. Mumbai would have added 2200 cases a day instead of 3500 that Delhi is adding these days.

If one applies this formula to the recovery cases also, the city would have had 53800 recovery cases as of today and the overall death rate amongst completed cases would have been 7.3% and not 9.7%.

Mumbai will still have higher deaths than Delhi simply because it has far more older people . In the 2011 Census, the City had 11.3 lakhs people in the 50 to 69 age group (today they would be in the 60 to 79 age band) versus 9.25 lakhs in Delhi

Mumbai Caps Cases in Dharavi

Overall, things are looking better because

  1. Average Mumbaikars from Mid-May have realised the danger of fooling around
  2. Changes in the Municipal Corporation have enabled the BMC do a much better job. Bringing in a new commissioner Chahal in May for example
  3. Everyone in the Govt inspite of inexperience have been open minded in doing their job (like getting docs from Kerala or bringing in Metro Champion Ashwini Bhide or replacing Pardeshi with Chahal)
  4. The Centre has generally been supportive of Mumbai instead of publicly ticking off the Government
The Centre and State have Collaborated well to solve the problem

So it is just a matter of the time that Corona will be overcome at-least to manageable levels. Whether it is two weeks from now or a month from now, I would agree with the assessment that Mumbai will get better. Of course it does not mean celebrating on the Streets and becoming super-spreaders. It only means things are not going to remain gloomy and Mumbaikars can look forward to the most exciting time of the year (The Monsoon) with less fear than they did a month ago.

Read our previous article on deaths in Maharashtra on DailyHunt

Please read out previous article on testing in Mumbai

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Subhash Chandra is CEO of CrowdWisdom360 and is based out of Mumbai.

Pic Courtesy: DNA