Another testing high as Covid-19 cases breach 200k in Delhi
The Delhi government conducted a record 54,517 tests for Covid-19 on Wednesday. This was the sixth time in seven days that the city set a new record for daily tests, a statistic that highlights the magnitude of the increase in testing.Updated: Sep 10, 2020, 05:35 IST
Delhi on Wednesday conducted a record number of daily tests for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), and consequently reported its highest single-day cases as the tally of infections in the city crossed 200,000, making it the only city in India to breach this mark.
The Capital – the first Covid-19 hot spot city in the country to control the spread of the virus, but which has seen an increase in the number of cases in the past two weeks – reported 4,039 new cases on Wednesday, taking the total number of infections to 201,174.
The Delhi government conducted a record 54,517 tests for Covid-19 on Wednesday. This was the sixth time in seven days that the city set a new record for daily tests, a statistic that highlights the magnitude of the increase in testing.
With 11,101 reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, considered the most accurate method of diagnosing Covid-19, Delhi also set a record for the highest number of single-day RT-PCR tests. The previous record was set a day ago, when Delhi conducted 9,944 such tests.
Delhi’s resurgence of cases had prompted Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on August 26 to announce the ramping up of testing to 40,000 daily samples to track, and isolate as many cases as possible.
As of Wednesday, the Capital has reported nearly 40,430 more infections than Mumbai, which has the second highest number of infections and 56,579 cases more than Chennai on the third spot. In total, Mumbai has reported 160,744 cases and Chennai has 144,595 infections till Wednesday night. All figures are according to the health bulletins issued by their respective state authorities. At the same time, however, Delhi has tested 100,198 per million of its population as compared to 40,032 in Maharashta and 73,252 in Tamil Nadu (updated individual figures of Mumbai and Chennai are not available).
These three metropolitan cities, which were the initial hot spots of the virus in the country, remain the ones with the biggest concentration of infections (and deaths).
To be sure, the district of Pune has more cases (212,563), than these three cities. However, only 119,291 of those are from the city of Pune and the remaining are from surrounding areas such as Pimpri-Chinchwad that fall outside of city boundaries.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet on Tuesday: “Today, Delhi reported the highest number of cases – 4,039. But it also conducted the highest number of tests – 54,517 against 15,000-20,000 tests till last week. If we were conducting the same number of tests (as last week), today’s cases would be fewer than 1,500. So, don’t be scared by the number of cases.”
On the back of the increased testing, the positivity rate in the city has again started dropping. Of the tests conducted on Wednesday, 7.4% came back positive. The average positivity rate, which had dropped from a peak of 31.4% in mid-June to 5.7% at the end of July, had been climbing again and was at 9% on September 1. In the past week, this has dropped to 8.2%. Overall, 10.6% of all tests done in Delhi have come back positive.
Experts said the dropping positivity rate is a good indicator for the city despite the rise in cases.
“A good indicator to see if a government is testing enough is to look at the positivity rate in the city. If the positivity rate is increasing then that means that there is increased transmission of the virus in the community. In Delhi’s case this has been going down recently, which is a good sign. I will be happy if this drops below 5% for a period of two week, which is what the World Health Organization said is the threshold to show that the transmission of the virus is under control,” said Dr Lalit Kant, former head of the department of epidemiology at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).