131 Covid-19 deaths, highest spike in a day so far in Delhi
Delhi on Wednesday crossed the psychological mark of 500,000 Covid-19 cases, adding 7,486 new cases to its daily count, according to the Delhi government’s daily bulletin.
The city also recorded 131 deaths due to the infection, highest even seen in a day. Before this, the highest single-day death toll of 104 was reported on November 12.
This pushed the seven-day average case fatality ratio (CFR) – the proportion of deaths among those who test positive – to 2.12%. This is much higher than the cumulative CFR – calculated on the basis of total number of cases and deaths so far – indicating that the recent deaths are driving up the CFR.
The city’s total Covid count now stands at 503,084. A total of 43,147 rapid antigen tests were conducted and 19,085 of the more reliable RT-PCR tests, with a positivity rate of 12.03 %.
On Tuesday, NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul had said Delhi had shown “dramatic improvement” in reducing deaths due to delay in admissions.
“Initially, when the pandemic had started – till about June – nearly 60 to 70% of the deaths in hospitals happened within the first 72 hours. Half of these deaths happened within the first 24-hours of admission. In Delhi, there has been a dramatic change since. We are still monitoring the mortality as it shows the efficiency of the system – mobilising patients from home, ambulance service, access to beds, and efficiency of the treatment,” he had said.
Eleven Delhi government-run hospitals will add 663 intensive care unit beds to the city’s existing 3,600 beds over the next few days, with 232 beds at Guru Teg Bahadur hospital being operationalised in the next two days, according to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
“In view of … increased demand of ICU beds in hospitals… directors of Covid hospitals… are directed to augment ICU beds by upgrading existing oxygenated beds at their respective hospitals,” read an order by the special secretary (health) SM Ali. The order was issued after the health minister Satyendar Jain met directors and doctors of various Coivd-19 hospitals on Wednesday.
The increase in the number of beds comes after a meeting of Delhi officials with union home minister Amit Shah on Sunday where the Centre had also promised to increase ICU beds in its makeshift hospital in Dhaula Kuan.
Health ministry officials during a press briefing on Tuesday had said the ICU bed capacity will be increased to 6,000, with the army-run hospital in Dhaula Kuan adding 537 ICU beds, the central government hospitals 45, and 2,680 beds by the Delhi government, mostly through the order reserving 80% ICU beds in 33 big private hospitals.
“Overall, there are Covid beds available but there is a shortage of ICU beds. We are making all efforts to increase these. Today, I met doctors of GTB hospital and the doctors immediately agreed to increase 232 beds; it is very difficult to do this in just 48 hours but our doctors have responded to the need,” said Kejriwal.
With the third surge in cases paralleling many cities from the West and Europe, the CM said, “If you look at places like New York, Sweden, Italy and France, when they had as many cases the videos that emerged showed patients in the corridors and street. There were no beds available. In New York, when 6,300 cases were reported in a day, there were 550 deaths at that time. Our doctors have managed the pandemic very well.”
Even though Delhi had seen a dip in the number of new cases for the last three days owing to fewer tests being conducted during the festivals, the number of hospitalisations due to the infection continued to rise. There were 9,343 Covid-19 patients in various city hospitals as on Tuesday, the daily health bulletin shows.
Despite the government continuously increasing the number of beds, 56% of all beds earmarked for Covid-19 were occupied as on Wednesday night, showed the Delhi Corona app. The situation is worse for ICU beds, with almost 89% being occupied.
“The situation is as bad as it was a week ago; almost every hour I get a call to arrange a bed. Even though more beds have been added, there is still a shortage, and I do not see any signs of the situation improving any time soon. Probably 10-12 days later, we may see a decrease in numbers but not right now,” said Dr Rajesh Chawla, senior consultant, respiratory and critical care medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.
Vijaypal Yadav, joint commissioner of MCG, said that the 35 teams, comprising four members each, will be deployed across as many municipal wards in the city, adding that anyone found violating the order will have to pay a penalty of ₹5,000.
A senior PWD official said the project entails the improvement of Peeragarhi Chowk junction, widening of the railway overbridge along Ring Road going towards Mangolpuri, the construction of a flyover on Laxmi Narayan Mandir Road and underpass U-turns on Chaudhary Balbir Singh Marg and improved pedestrian access along with proposed foot overbridges.
The owner of a fuel station was gunned down by unidentified car-borne persons in the Holy City colony of Amritsar on Wednesday night. The incident took place at around 10:30pm when Mohan had reached outside his home, after work. As per information, when Mohan reached just outside his house, a Toyota Innova SUV also reached there and the assailants in the car opened fire. Police commissioner Arun Pal confirmed Mohan's death.
The Haryana assembly on Wednesday referred to a select committee of the House the Haryana Police (Amendment) Bill, 2022 for examination. The amendment Bill which sought to do away with the powers of the Haryana State Police Complaints Authority to take suo motu cognisance of a matter was opposed by Congress MLA Varun Chaudhary. Deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala suggested that the Bill be referred to a select committee of the House for examination.
The Shiromani Akali Dal on Wednesday said the party's faith in judiciary had been reaffirmed by the Punjab and Haryana high court's decision to grant bail to former minister Bikram Singh Majithia in a “politically motivated case of vendetta”. The party spokesperson asserted Majithia was not guilty of offences he has been charged with in the FIR registered in December, 2021, under different sections of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.