Daily cases stay above 4k in Capital
The daily positivity rate – the percentage of samples that were positive – also crossed 7%, a level not seen for a month. This is the third time the city is witnessing a surge in the number of cases.Updated: Oct 24, 2020, 23:49 IST
There were 4,116 new cases of Covid-19 in the national Capital, the state government said on Saturday, the second consecutive day when the number of positive tests from a single day remained above 4,000, raising fears of resurgence in the outbreak at a time when the country enters a festive period.
The daily positivity rate – the percentage of samples that were positive – also crossed 7%, a level not seen for a month. This is the third time the city is witnessing a surge in the number of cases.
The first surge was in mid-June and the cases dipped to about 1,000 a day by the third week of July. At its peak, 3,947 cases were recorded in a day during the June-July surge.
The number of cases in the city started increasing again in September, with 4,473 being the highest number of cases recorded in a single day. The number of cases declined to about 2,000 a day in the beginning of October.
The current rise in the number of cases came along with a push by the government to increase the more accurate RT-PCR test. Over 15,000 RT-PCR tests were conducted on average each day during the last seven days. In comparison, 12,873 RT-PCR tests were done the week before and 9,552 the week before that, the data shows.
When the Delhi government tripled testing to around 60,000 a day during the September surge, it was mainly using the rapid antigen test. Rapid antigen tests are cheap, easy to deploy in clinics and dispensaries and give results within 15 minutes. But, they are not very sensitive and are likely to miss true positives.
“In a city with a population of 2 crore (20 million), 4,000 is not a very big number. But there are many cases that do not get detected as we have seen through sero-prevalence (presence of antibodies indicating exposure to Sars-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19). If we test more, we will detect more cases. And, RT-PCR test is likely to pick up more cases because it is a sensitive test. However, with many people already having had the infection, we do not know how the disease will react further. It might go up due to festivities,” said Dr Jugal Kishore, head of the department of community medicine at Safdarjung hospital in New Delhi.
The number of hospital admissions too has gone up slightly to 5,323 against the average of 5,093 in the last seven days. Doctors worry that with the festive season and increase in pollution levels, Delhi will record more cases that could turn severe.
“An increase in the number of cases is expected; the effect of Navratra and Durga Puja will be felt after ten to fifteen days. By then, it will be time for Diwali. The ensuing increase in pollution levels will also lead to people developing severe disease and more and more people needing ICU care,” Dr GC Khilnani, former head of the department of pulmonology at AIIMS, had told HT on October 21 while talking about the impact of festivals on Covid-19 in the city.