Most RT-PCR tests in one day in Delhi; 24 deaths recorded

The city has conducted over 11,000 of the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction tests a day only five times so far.
A health worker tests employees of a university for Covid-19.(AP)
A health worker tests employees of a university for Covid-19.(AP)
Updated on Sep 26, 2020 09:51 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By, New Delhi

Delhi reported the highest number of RT-PCR tests to diagnose coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in a single day, with 11,797 tests on Friday, as per the daily health bulletin released by the Delhi government. This comes a day after the government directed all the districts to ensure that all symptomatic individuals be tested using the more accurate RT-PCR method.

The city has conducted over 11,000 of the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction tests a day only five times so far. These tests, considered the gold standard diagnosis for Covid-19, accounted for almost 20% of the total 59,134 tests conducted on Thursday. A week ago, only 17.7% of the tests were conducted using this method as per the data.

To scale up testing in the city as the number of cases increased in September, the Delhi government had massively deployed rapid antigen tests, which can be performed easily and gives results within 15 minutes. The tests, however, are less sensitive and likely to throw up false negatives.

“When you are using a test for diagnosing an individual, the sensitivity has to be high so that you are sure that the infection gets picked up. That is the reason RT-PCR should be the test of choice outside of containment areas and that is what the current ICMR advisory also says. With rapid antigen test, there is a possibility that it will miss out on positive cases, especially if the person is asymptomatic. The person may then pass on the infection to others,” said Dr Lalit Kant, former head of epidemiology and infectious diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Delhi has also been reporting fewer new Covid-19 cases. On average, 3,591 cases were reported each day during the last seven days. In comparison, 4,118 cases had been recorded on average each day the week before. After seeing a decline in the number of cases of the viral infection in August, the numbers started rising again in September.

The city recorded 24 deaths due to Covid-19 in Friday’s bulletin, the lowest fatality count in 13 days. On average, 35 deaths were reported each day during the last seven days. Fewer deaths reported on Friday also slightly lowered the seven-day case fatality ratio (CFR) – fraction of people who die among those tested positive for the infection. The seven-day CFR stood at 0.94% as per Friday’s bulletin as compared to 0.95% the day before. The seven-day CFR had been on the rise for almost two weeks now. The seven-day CFR two weeks ago was just 0.68%.

Meanwhile, the cumulative CFR – calculated on the basis of total number of cases and deaths – has been going down steadily, with a CFR of less than 2% being recorded three days ago for the first time since the government started reconciling its death data in May.


    Anonna Dutt is a health reporter at Hindustan Times. She reports on Delhi government’s health policies, hospitals in Delhi, and health-related feature stories.

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