If Dharavi Can “Flatten the Curve”, So Can the Rest of Maharashtra


If Dharavi Can “Flatten the Curve”, So Can the Rest of Maharashtra

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

Maharashtra is the state with the highest number of positive coronavirus in India, with the figure currently sitting at 85,975 as of Sunday. Even as India became the country with the fifth-highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world, the state of Maharashtra crossed China in terms of its coronavirus cases. But despite these daunting numbers, not all is bleak. Mumbai, which itself accounts for more than half of Maharashtra’s total cases, with 48,774 cases in total recorded on Sunday, saw some good news when it was reported that Dharavi, a local hotspot, had witnessed a slight flattening in the growth curve of fresh cases.

Dharavi had witnessed its first coronavirus case on April 1, and since then, the slum, considered Asia’s largest with an estimated population of close to one million, had grown to become a hotspot within the city of Mumbai. Along with the neighbourhoods of Mahim and Dadar, Dharavi contributed to making G-Ward (North) the most affected ward in all of Mumbai’s 24 civic wards. Between May 10 and 16, it recorded an average of 52 coronavirus cases in a day. But finally, that upward trajectory seems to be slowing. On June 1, 34 people from Dharavi had tested positive for Covid-19, but by Sunday, that number had come down to 10.

Kiran Dighavkar, a civic official with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) who operates in G-Ward (North), told the news agency PTI, “Dharavi has not reported a single death in the last six days, which is the first major indicator that we are on the right track. The number of people getting discharged is also increasing.”

As nearly a week goes by without any coronavirus-related deaths in Dharavi, the recovery rate of infected patients has also seen a corresponding increase. Out of a reported 1,899 patients in Dharavi, BMC officials have declared that 939 of them have made a successful recovery.  Speaking about the BMC’s plan of action in tackling the outbreak, Dighavkar said, “With the help of fever clinics, we could identify the people showing symptoms similar to that of coronavirus infection. We isolated them immediately which helped in either containing further transmission of the virus or spreading any kind of infection from those who are feeling unwell.”

The apparent flattening of the curve in Dharavi is an encouraging sign for Mumbai, and Maharashtra as a whole, as the city and state attempt to find their feet while the lockdown is being gradually lifted.