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25 Nov 2020

COVID-19: How has it impacted India’s richest city Mumbai 

COVID-19: How has it impacted India’s richest city Mumbai

Mumbai is described as a city that never sleeps. It’s a city always on the run. Due to the pandemic, the city has been held by the chain of the virus and it seems like the city will have sleepless nights and days amidst the pandemic. COVID-19 has turned Mumbai into a ghost town with strict restrictions to break the chain of the virus.

Mumbai amidst lockdown

Despite having some of the finest health facilities and doctors, Maharastra has close to 50,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and in particular its biggest city Mumbai, has emerged as the center of India’s corona virus cases. Mumbai accounts for nearly a quarter deaths from the virus. According to a government report, Mumbai has 70 public hospitals with a capacity of 20,700 and 1500 private facilities. The population of the city is roughly estimated to be 18 million and math says that the city has roughly one bed per 3,000 people.

The city’s health infrastructure seems to be collapsing. In Mumbai’s hot and humid weather, doctors drenched in sweat are working day and night to save people from dying. “Last night in just six hours, I saw 15 to 18 deaths from COVID-related causes.” a doctor from KEM hospital-one of the many hospitals assigned for COVID-19 patients-told BBC. Doctors are comparing the situation to a war zone where per bed, two to three patients are present, some lying on the floor, some in corridors. Till now South Mumbai as well as central Mumbai was where the infections were mostly being seen. However, in the last 15 days or so, there has been a worrying and a substantial spike of infections in Mumbai’s northernmost and central suburbs.

A doctor at SION hospital, another government facility, said they are splitting oxygen tanks between patients. There is no proper hygiene being followed and doctors fear that they themselves may get affected due to it.

In slum areas of Mumbai, there is a greater risk of infection. Nearly a million people live in less than one square mile. “Fifty people use one bathroom. There is no possibility of social distancing” stated Mohammed Rahman, a resident of Dharavi slum. There are currently 676 containment zones in slums, while 2,614 buildings that have been sealed.

Field hospitals are being built that can accommodate around 4,000 patients. But building new facilities is not going to solve the problem. Unless we find the source of the spread and cut it out, the city will have to remain under lockdown for months. With PM Modi’s decision to resume train and air service and with the current cases in India, the hope for the situation to come under control looks really slim.

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