Covid cases in Maharashtra double in a day, XBB 1.16 dominant | Mumbai News

MUMBAI: Daily detection of Covid-19 cases in the state more than doubled on Tuesday in comparison with Monday’s tally, showing a steady rise in transmission. Experts said the recombinant subvariant XBB 1.16, which was isolated in the first week of March by genomic scientists from Maharashtra, is responsible for 60% of the cases. The subvariant has also been linked with a death -though not with increased severity.
On Tuesday, Maharashtra reported 450 new cases of coronavirus, the highest number in 152 days. The last time the state recorded such a high count was on October 27 at 972 cases.

In addition, three deaths were reported, bringing the total number of Covid-19 deaths in March to 17, the highest monthly toll since November 2022. While there are currently around 2,500 active cases in the state (2,343), hospitalisations are not proportionately high, officials said.
Elaborating on XBB 1.16, an Omicron variant’s sublineage, the public health department said 230 patients have been detected with the new subvariant in Maharashtra. Of these, 151 cases were from Pune, 24 from Aurangabad, 23 from Thane, 11 each from Kolhapur and Ahmednagar, eight from Amravati, and one each from Mumbai and Raigad. The state revealed barring one patient who succumbed to the new type, all others have recovered.
Dr Rajesh Karyakarte, who coordinates SARS-CoV-2 genetic sequencing in Maharashtra, said XBB 1.16 has become the dominant strain in the state, gradually displacing XBB and XBB.1. His team at B J Medical College in Pune was the first to identify the mutation and inform the Union health ministry on March 10. “This variant is now present in 60% of cases. Most patients had mild symptoms,” he said.
Doctors at SevenHills Hospital, which has the highest number of inpatients, concurred. Physician Dr Rajas Walinjkar said Covid is associated with fever that lasts less than 48 hours, sore throat and bodyache. “Patients who have required advanced care often are old TB cases, have lung conditions,” he said. Currently, 52 patients are in the hospital of whom 33 were on oxygen.

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