Single-day Covid-19 cases in Capital touch new peak
Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain on Tuesday claimed the positivity rate spike was down to testing the contacts of patients in a “targeted manner”.Updated: Oct 28, 2020, 05:09 IST
The Capital on Tuesday added 4,853 new cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) — the most cases reported in a single-day so far since the first case was detected in the city on March 2.
Before this, 4,473 new cases reported on September 16 was the previous single-day case record. The city had seen the first surge in cases in June-July.
An expert committee headed by NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul had, earlier this month, warned that Delhi could see up to 15,000 Covid-19 a day during the winter months.
The number of cases picked up after a dip on Sunday when fewer people had been tested. The positivity rate – proportion of samples that returned positive among those tested — however remained well over 8%.
Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain on Tuesday claimed the positivity rate spike was down to testing the contacts of patients in a “targeted manner”.
“If one person tests positive, we are looking for all their family members and contacts and getting them tested. This strategy is being closely monitored. What we have seen is that if one person tests positive, usually several members of the same family test positive,” Jain contended.
But experts have also blamed the spike on poor adherence to safety norms such as wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, as “pandemic fatigue” appears to have kicked in, particularly during the festive season.
To be sure, the rise in daily cases coincides with an increase in the number of reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests. On average, over 15,200 RT-PCR tests were conducted over the last seven days in Delhi, up from 13,900 the week before, and 10,471 the week before that.
RT-PCR tests are more accurate than rapid antigen tests, which constitute about 72% of the tests conducted in the Capital over the last seven days and miss several positive cases.
The Centre on Tuesday praised the Capital’s containment efforts, saying nearly 50% of all cases being reported in the city were coming from containment zones. “We have seen the efforts that were being made to contain the disease spread in Delhi that has led to about 50% of the cases being reported from designated containment zones,” said Dr VK Paul during a Union health ministry briefing on Tuesday. Delhi has 3,032 containment zones,as of Tuesday.
New cases being reported across the country have declined gradually since September-end, dipping below 50,000 new cases a day this week. But Delhi has witnessed a spike, putting it among the top five states and Union territories reporting the highest number of cases.
The Capital also reported 44 Covid-19 deaths on Tuesday, taking the toll in the city to 6,356.
The number of deaths brought Delhi’s seven-day average case fatality ratio (CFR) – proportion of deaths among those who test positive – to 1.01% on Tuesday. The cumulative CFR – based on the total number of cases and deaths reported in the city so far – stands at 1.74%, which is higher than the national average of 1.50%.
With the increase in the number of cases over the last two weeks, the number of hospitalisations have also started increasing. There were over 5,400 people admitted to city hospitals with the infection as on Monday, up from about 5,100 admissions during the week.
However, over 10,000 beds earmarked for the treatment of the pandemic infection continue to be vacant, as per data from the Delhi Corona app. Almost, 60% of the intensive care unit (ICU) beds, however, are occupied.
“We are trying to put in more Bipap and non invasive ventilation on our existing beds in the wards to create more intensive care beds,” said a senior Delhi government official.
“Delhi has been showing an up and down trend — this is the third time numbers are going up. Delhi is a mixing pot of people, and this non-steady-state is expected. There has been a lot of in-migration from other states — with some bringing the infection. That, coupled with the relaxation of discipline has led to a rise in cases,” said Dr T Jacob John, former head of the department of clinical virology at Christian Medical College, Vellore.