Delhi tally hits 48-day high, 76,870 new cases across India
The national capital reported 1,840 new cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on Thursday — the highest single-day increase in 48 days — as the daily infection rate in the city continued to rise again, a trend that had prompted chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to hold an emergency meeting a day ago to address the issue.
India, meanwhile, set a new record for daily cases for the second day in a row with 76,870 new infections on Thursday taking the national tally to 3,382,047. On Wednesday, India lodged 75,826 new cases, which was the second-highest number of single-day infections seen anywhere in the world. The world record for single-day case increase was set on July 24 when the United States reported 78,586 new infections.
In the last seven days, Delhi has seen an average of 1,464 new cases every day – the highest this number has touched since July 19. The seven-day average of daily cases in the Capital, which peaked at 3,446 on June 26 before falling to 983 on August 4, has now increased for the 11th consecutive day.
Thursday’s new cases take the total number of infections in the Capital to 167,604, and 22 new deaths take the total fatalities due to Covid-19 to 4,369.
On Wednesday, Kerjiwal acknowledged that Covid-19 cases in Delhi were increasing again, and announced that the city government would double the number of daily tests from current levels to around 40,000 per day in an effort to catch and isolate more infections. “For nearly one and a half months now, the Covid-19 situation in Delhi is under control. But, since August 17, cases have been increasing again,” the chief minister had said on Wednesday. “We have all brought coronavirus under control with great difficulty. It cannot be allowed to increase.”
At an average, the city has conducted 17,960 tests every day in the past week, a significant drop from the highest it has touched so far — 21,660 daily tests for the week ending July 9.
According to the Kejriwal, tests will be increased from “around 20,000 tests per day being conducted currently to 40,000 tests per day” in five to seven days. He urged city residents to get themselves tested on feeling the slightest of influenza-like symptoms.
The seven-day average positivity rate has also started rising again, with 8% of all tests conducted in the last week coming back positive, the highest in 41 days. Positivity rate — the fraction of tests that return positive — had dropped from a peak of 31.4% in mid-June to 5.7% at the end of July, but are now consistently rising again. In terms of the single-day positivity rate, 8.7% of samples tested on Thursday came back positive.
Positivity is a crucial metric because global health agencies like the World Health Organisation say it shows how widespread the virus is in the community, and when coupled with an increase in new cases, it indicates that the virus is spreading fast. Test positive rate can rise if there are fewer tests, but also if the outbreak is growing.