The ACJ Wrap: COVID-19 in Mumbai

By Sharnya Rajesh

In Mumbai, the new daily cases have been in the 5,000-6,000 range since January 16 – versus around 20,000 new cases per day in the first 10 days of January, as reported by The Wire.

Welcome news at last ! 700 days later, Mumbai schools have now reopened

With daily COVID cases on a decline in Mumbai, city municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal on Thursday announced that schools for classes 1 to 12 will resume from Monday. In-person or offline classes will resume in pre-primary schools too, the commissioner said.

While many rejoice, some may not be happy and others weary and afraid – remember the choice remains to send or not. New research shows that kids experienced both mental and physical health problems — anxiety, depression, lower physical activity, food insecurity and school disengagement — linked to school closures and social lockdowns. 

It is clear that we need to get on with life, that children have fallen ill from the virus even sitting at home out of physical school. 

Parents now urge that schools must ensure reasonable practical Standard Operati Procedures including a regular school day, schools not to be shut down over one case and for millions of hard working people, school buses to function. 

Despite the recent improvements, city schools continue hiding behind SOPs saying, “come once a week so we can seat 50% people”, when in fact it’s ok to seat 25 kids in a classroom on separate chairs. Additionally, without buses working, many parents cannot afford to send kids while on the other hand, schools complain that not enough kids are coming. 

As an infectious disease starts to spread, you can plot the number of cases on every subsequent day on the y-axis and passing time on the x-axis – and you’ll get the outbreak curve.

The curve of any infectious disease outbreak typically has a consistent rising part, a peak and then the declining part. And after a point, the curve starts to become more and more flat. 

As Mumbai now inches towards some semblance of normalcy, with children returning to schools and restrictions being progressively lifted, the city’s street food vendors, including its iconic vada pav vendors, finally see a little sliver of hope for businesses to pick-up.