In an encouraging sign, the COVID-19 test positivity rate in Mumbai has dropped below 10 per cent, municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said on Friday.
According to Chahal, Mumbai's positivity rate was 9.94 per cent on April 29, when 4,328 people tested positive for COVID-19 out of 43,525 those samples were examined.
The test positivity rate (TPR) is defined as proportion of samples that return positive among the total tested.
"Our positivity rate is in single digit now with nearly 44,000 tests. Perhaps, Mumbai is the only city in India with a single digit positivity rate with high testing," Chahal claimed.
Highlighting that 85 per cent of the new cases are asymptomatic, the IAS officer said the number of vacant beds available in city hospitals increased to 5,725 on Friday afternoon, indicating a drop in fresh admissions.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
According to the data provided by Chahal, who took charge of the BMC during the pandemic last year, Mumbai had a TPR of 20.85 per cent in the beginning of April.
The highest positivity rate during the month was 27.94 per cent, reported on April 4, when 11,573 people had tested positive after 51,313 samples were examined.
The data suggested that test positivity rate started slipping below 20 per cent from April 19.
Earlier this week, Dr Shashank Joshi, a member of the Maharashtra government's COVID-19 task force, had said Mumbai may have turned the corner in its fight against the pandemic.He had said the turnaround was due to the metropolis tackling the surge in cases during the second wave of the infection with the "ATM strategy", which is 'Assess, Triage and Transfer, and Management'.