As many as 1,024 coronavirus cases were reported in the national capital on Thursday — the first time Delhi has breached the 1,000 mark — taking the total number of confirmed cases to 16,281. Thirteen more deaths have been collated by the state health department, taking the toll to 316.
Delhi is now third in terms of case count, behind Maharashtra with 56,948 cases and Tamil Nadu with 18,545 cases. In the last 10 days since lockdown relaxations were announced, the city has reported 5,656 cases — almost 35% of the total.
The city has 4,462 beds for Covid patients, 429 ICU beds, 343 ventilators and 2,632 oxygen supported beds in Covid-designated hospitals. With 2,196 patients admitted in 13 hospitals, around 2,200 beds are still vacant. There are 4,227 people under home isolation, almost double the patients in hospitals.
The number of those who have recovered/migrated/been discharged has reached 7495, with 231 people recovering in a day. Active cases stand at 8,470. Delhi’s recovery rate is 46%, higher than the national recovery rate of 42.75%. The mortality rate in Delhi 1.94%, lower than the national average of 2.8%.
Experts in Delhi who have been closely monitoring cases suggested the rise was expected. “Looking at the population of Delhi, more people are vulnerable of catching infection. So the numbers will go up. Nationally, cases have been fluctuating due to which the death rate will also vary. This is a common characteristic of any virus, and a surge is bound to happen. What we need to focus on is the death rate, which should not increase. The cumulative number will keep going up,” said Dr Jugal Kishore, director, head of the department of community medicine, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital.
At AIIMS, as many as 195 healthcare workers have so far tested positive. “On an average, five-six healthcare workers are testing positive daily,” said DK Sharma, AIIMS MS.
A committee formed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to assess the capital’s health infrastructure had prepared a scenario for three stages: stage 1 when the city will start reporting 100 cases a day, Stage 2 with 500 cases a day and stage 3 with 1,000 cases a day.
The calculations were based on the study published in New England Journal of Medicine. The study was conducted by a group of researchers to analyse data on the first 425 confirmed cases in Wuhan to determine epidemiologic characteristics of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)–infected pneumonia (NCIP).
“The study estimated about 1,099-odd patients, but we thought let’s take 1,000 patients for our calculations. It said if there are 1,000 patients, then 14% will require hospitalisation because of severe infections; about 5% will require an ICU set-up; 2.3% might require ventilator support; 1.4% might succumb to the disease. At present, we are over-prepared as Delhi has sufficient number of ICUs and ventilators. Adding more ICUs and ventilators initially has been an advantage for us,” said Dr S K Sarin, head of the committee and chief of the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences.
Delhi has begun the process of adding 1,500 beds with oxygen support in GTB Hospital. Now, around 9% of patients are in ICU and most are on oxygen support.
“We need to ensure that hospitals are not overwhelmed as cases are going up. Those above 50 and with co-morbidities should have a pulse oximeter at home or at quarantine centres. The government has a plan to purchase 1,000 ventilators,” said a health department official.
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