Delhi sees 256 fresh Covid cases, highest single day spike in 35 days
The Capital saw its highest single-day rise in Covid-19 infections in 35 days on Friday, adding 256 fresh cases of the infection. The city has seen the number of daily new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) infections inch up gradually, with over 200 cases being recorded for three days on the trot now, a spurt that comes as some states in the country — Maharashtra, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Chhattisgarh — have seen what appears to be the start of fresh waves of the infection.
Further, Delhi’s Covid-19 test positivity rate has also increased gradually over the past few days, hitting 0.41% — the highest recorded in the Capital since January 29. Friday’s positivity rate was nearly double the 0.22% recorded in the city two weeks ago. Delhi conducted 62,768 tests, as per Friday’s bulletin, of which 41,775 used the gold standard RT-PCR method, while the rest used the rapid antigen method.
The seven day average positivity rate – calculated on the basis of the number of tests and cases over the last seven days – has also increased to 0.30%, up from 0.24% last week and 0.21% the week before that.
Experts regard the positivity rate as a crucial metric to gauge the spread of an infection. To be sure, the World Health Organization recommends a rate below 5% for two weeks for an infection to be considered under control. Delhi has not touched this number in its positivity rate since December 2, when it recorded 3,944 new infections.
“I hope I am wrong, but the positivity rate has almost doubled in the last two weeks. The speed at which the positivity rate has increased leads me to believe that we might again see an increase in the number of cases like it is being seen in other states like Maharashtra. Now, we need to trace the areas from where the new cases are being reported and probably look at pre-emptive containment,” said Dr SK Sarin, director, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), who headed Delhi government’s first expert committee on strategies to control the spread and manage Covid-19 cases.
The fewest cases in a day was reported on February 16, when the city added just 94 new infections.
The number of tests in the city has also gone down from its highest capacity of over 80,000 tests a day. This month on average 58,231 tests were conducted each day in the city. The proportion of the more accurate RT PCR tests has, however, increased to over 64%.
Dr Sarin had also suggested that people living in regions reporting increase in cases be immunised as quickly as possible. However, Delhi has seen a decline in the number of immunisations, with just over 13,000 people getting the shot on Friday as compared to the highest of over 27,000.
“The numbers have gone down because fewer people are coming in; there is a need for more motivation. Those who were motivated already took their first shot last week,” said a senior district level officer.
Delhi, like much of the country, will not have immunisations on Satuday and Sunday as India transitions to CoWIN 2.0 that would allow people to self-register for vaccination.
Government experts have also been stressing hard on not getting complacent, and to continue following Covid-19 appropriate behavior. “We have seen in other countries, wave after wave after wave, so we cannot afford to drop our guard just yet. There is a large percentage of population that is still susceptible so we must strictly follow Covid-19 appropriate behavior such as wearing a mask, maintaining physical distancing, avoiding large gatherings as far as possible, and observing hand hygiene among other things,” said Dr VK Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog, in Union health ministry’s Covid briefing earlier this week.