Gurugram’s Covid situation: September already worse than Aug in terms of cases, deathsUpdated: Sep 14, 2020 00:34 IST
In the first two weeks of September, the district recorded 3,108 new cases of Covid-19, exceeding August’s total reported caseload of 3,046 new infections, according to the state health department. In deaths too, the September with 14 deaths has already managed to outstrip August’s count of 10.
The month is also set to overtake July when the district had 3,819 infections (33 deaths) and June with 4,689 cases (94 deaths).
Health department officials and experts said that this indicated a rapid spread of the Sars-Cov-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, among Gurugram’s population, and cautioned against non-essential public movement.
From 1,686 on September 6 to 2,232 on September 13, Gurugram saw a 32% increase in the number of active Covid-19 cases over the past week, during which it also registered an average of 275 new positive cases each day (up from 191 new cases each day the week prior).
The district’s test positivity rate (TPR, which is the number of positive cases per 100 tests), between 9 to 11%, over the past week was above the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) recommended benchmark of 5% over two weeks.
On Sunday, when Gurugram recorded its highest single-day jump of new positives yet, recording 339 cases of Covid-19, the positivity rate stood at 9.4%. In the last week of August, the positivity rate was 6 percent (with fewer tests being conducted daily).
Dr. Rajesh Kumar, epidemiologist and former professor of community medicine at PGIMER Chandigarh, said, “A high positivity rate is worrying, especially if it coincides with an increase in testing. What you would hope to see is the opposite, fewer proportion of positive cases when there is an increase in tests. Essentially, what the numbers indicate is that Gurugram may once again be undertesting, and is therefore unable to keep up with the spread of the virus.”
The district’s total tally of Covid-19 cases now stands at 15249, up from 13321 a week ago. That is equal is 1928 new cases in seven days, the highest weekly aggregate since the outbreak began in March. The daily growth rate in new positives, as of September 13, was 2.2 percent, and has remained above two percent for at least two weeks now. This is also reflected in the sharp contraction of Gurugram’s doubling rate, which stands at 48 days as of September 13. For comparison, in the last week of August, the doubling rate was around 81 days.
“People are disregarding social distancing and basic hand hygiene. While it’s important to resume normal activities, it shouldn’t lead to carelessness. I would advise people to stay at home as much as possible,” said Gurugram chief medical officer Dr. Virender Yadav. He added that the department is taking necessary measures to shore up testing. In coming weeks, the district’s capacity to test for Covid-19 is expected to touch 5,000 samples per day. At present, the district tests around 3,300 samples per day.
Even so, officials pointed out that the newer cases are mild in nature. “Deaths are still low. Most people are in home isolation. Why the cases are milder is still a matter of speculation. It could be a different section of the population is getting affected, or a possible mutation of the virus. We don’t know yet,” said Dr. Ram Prakash, district epidemiologist, Gurugram.
The district recorded two new deaths due to Covid-19 on Saturday, taking the total toll to 147. The mortality rate, however, remains under one percent (with 0.97 percent of infections leading to death). This, experts explained, is not unexpected. “Our contact tracing efforts are able to find cases earlier into infection, and with treatment protocols having improved, we are able to keep the mortality low, which is the primary aim,” said Dr Jai Prakash Sharma, district surveillance officer, Gururgam.
Test-positivity rate (TPR):
September 13: 9.4%
September 12: 9.2%
September 11: 9.1%
September 10: 11.2%
September 9: 9.9%
September 8: 9.2 %
September 7: 5.8%
September 6: 11.5%