Grim milestone for Delhi as Covid-19 toll crosses 25,000 mark
Over 25,000 people in the national capital have died of Covid-19 since the outbreak of the infection in March last year, showed government records, after the state added four fatalities to the city’s toll on Tuesday.
The first Covid-19 death in Delhi was reported on March 13, 2020, when a 69-year-old woman succumbed to the viral infection.
Most of the 25,001 deaths in the city so far were recorded in just two months, between April and May, as a fourth wave of infections ravaged the city, and left health care infrastructure teetering on the brink of collapse.
At the height of the fourth wave, Delhi added an average of 25,294 cases a day in the seven days ending April 23.
State government records show that 13,210 people died of Covid-19 in the city in April and May alone, accounting for nearly 53% of Delhi’s coronavirus deaths.
Delhi continued to add around 20,000 new cases each day till the first week of May, after which cases fell, on the back of a lockdown imposed in the Capital from April 19.
Deaths of the illness peaked between May 1 and 3, as Delhi recorded over 400 fatalities each day. In Delhi on May 3 alone, 448 died of the illness. In comparison, 131 people died of Covid-19 at the height of the third wave of infections on November 18.
Delhi saw over 100 Covid-19 deaths on only 11 days before the fourth wave set foot in the city. In the fourth wave alone, Delhi added over 100 deaths on 47 occasions, showed Delhi government data.
Even as the fourth wave ebbed from the second week of May, Delhi continued to add an average of 101 Covid-19 deaths a day till the seven days ending June 2.
So far, 1.74% of those who contracted the infection in Delhi have died, slightly higher than the national average of 1.3%, according to the government data.
The city also added 79 fresh infections on Tuesday, with 0.11% of those sampled testing positive. Over the past week, Delhi has added an average of 85 new cases every day.
Experts said a fifth wave of infections in Delhi is unlikely “for at least six months.”
“The delta variant was so infectious that a very high proportion of people in Delhi have already been exposed, protecting them against another infection from at least six to 10 months as the current evidence suggests. In the meanwhile, we are also increasing the vaccination; people who do not have immunity from a previous infection will get it through immunisation,” said Dr Puneet Mishra, professor of community medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
Dr Anurag Agarwal, director, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, had previously said, ““For a fifth wave of cases, we need a variant that is significantly different from the circulating delta variant which will take time or a significant drop in population-level immunity which will also take time. There could be some ups and downs of the fourth wave over the next few weeks but a fifth wave is unlikely for some time.”