Covid-19 in Delhi: City sees highest case jump in over a month
After witnessing a slight dip in Covid-19 cases earlier this month, Delhi on Saturday logged 1,412 new cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) infections — the highest one-day increase since July 18, according to government data.
Before this, Delhi saw 1,475 fresh cases on July 18. So far, the highest single day spike in the national capital was on June 23 when the city recorded 3,947 new cases of the infection.
On August 16, the seven-day average Covid-19 cases in Delhi was 1,022 and as on Saturday, the same stood at 1,155.
Senior officials in the health department called the number of fresh cases reported on Saturday “a minor increase”.
“It cannot be deduced from this number that Delhi is again seeing a steep spurt in the number of cases... We will have to wait for another week to see the infection rate in the city,” said a senior health official on condition of anonymity.
Saturday’s fresh cases took the infection count in the Capital to 160,016, while the death toll touched 4,284. At least 14 people succumbed to the viral infection in the last 24 hours, while 1,230 patients recovered in that time. The daily health bulletin also showed that a total of 144,138 patients have recovered, migrated or been discharged while the number of active cases in the capital currently stand at 11,594.
According to the Delhi government’s health bulletin, 6,090 RT-PCR/CBNAAT/TrueNat tests and 13,345 rapid antigen tests were conducted over the last 24 hours. So far, Delhi has conducted 1,412,363 tests, which translates to 71,281 tests per million population.
Officials in the chief minister’s office said Arvind Kejriwal is monitoring the city’s Covid-19 situation personally, and that all steps are being taken to keep the infection rate under control and reduce it further.
“If you track the bulletin, the number of containment zones is also being increased accordingly. The Delhi model of ‘test, track, treat’, combined with our containment strategy and focus on high-risk groups (HRGs), as well as special surveillance groups (SSGs) is still on in full swing,” a senior government official said.
The number of containment zones in the national capital now stands at 591, up significantly from 539 on August 1.
According to health department data, the number of containment zones dipped to 496 on August 2 and saw a marginal increase to 499 on August 4. The number of containment zones again went past 500 on August 12.
Dr Lalit Kant, former head, epidemiology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), cautioned that Delhi’s positivity rate is not stable yet.
“Delhi certainly has to tread cautiously since the positivity rate continues to fluctuate marginally. The only solution to this is more and more testing. If it is through RT-PCR, that would be the most ideal. This did not have much to do with opening economic activities since those decision were taken on economic and political factors, and not on epidemiological aspects,” he said.
After Saturday’s fresh numbers, a section of residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) in Delhi expressed concern about the city’s Covid-19 situation and demanded stringent measures such as disallowing weekly markets, which have now been allowed to open on a trial basis for seven days.
“Even the second serological survey in Delhi has revealed that nearly 70% of the people of Delhi are still yet to be exposed to the coronavirus disease since the prevalence of antibodies was found only in about 29.1% of the population. In such a circumstance, the government should ramp up RT-PCR tests,” said BS Vohra, president, east Delhi RWAs joint forum.
Almost 30% of 15,000 people surveyed in the Capital had antibodies for the Sars-Cov-2, according to the second serological survey that suggests approximately 1.2 million people more may have silently contracted, and recovered, from Covid-19 between July and early August.
“It is relieving to know that around 29% of the city’s population has recovered after being infected by the coronavirus. On the other hand, 71% of people in Delhi have not developed antibodies, which means that they are still vulnerable,” Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain had said while releasing the results on Thursday.
The first such study, involving 21,837 people, was carried out in early July and revealed close to 23% had antibodies.