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Thursday, March 04, 2021

City’s Covid spread slows in past month but officials stay on alert

Between mid-January and mid-February the city’s positivity rate has remained under 0.5%, which experts say indicates that the spread has slowed down by a considerable degree.

Written by Mallica Joshi | New Delhi |
Updated: February 19, 2021 1:08:08 am
coronavirus, covid-19 in delhi, covid cases in delhi, covid spread in delhi, indian express newsAt a vaccination centre. (Photo: Praveen Khanna)

The city’s Covid graph over the past month has given healthcare workers a much needed breather. However, with the number of cases increasing in several cities and towns in Maharashtra, Delhi government officials have warned against complacency.

Between mid-January and mid-February the city’s positivity rate has remained under 0.5%, which experts say indicates that the spread has slowed down by a considerable degree.

The number of samples collected in a day, however, has also dipped from around 75,000 a day in November to 57,000 per day after the last month.

Delhi government officials said the main reason for this is that the number of people coming forward to get tested has come down.

“Our capacity remains around 80,000 per day but with the number of cases coming down overall, the number of people coming to get tested has also decreased. Our testing centres, though, are still ready to tackle a large number of patients. Earlier, a large number of those getting tested were contacts of people who have tested positive. Now, with that number dipping drastically, the number of contacts getting tested has also dipped,” the official said.

On Thursday, 60,440 persons were tested. Of these over 38,000 were tested through RT-PCR and over 21, 000 through the Rapid Antigen Test kits.

Delhi has conducted 11.78 crore tests to date.

Data show that the case fatality ratio, which had reached over 3% in November, when the city saw close to 9,000 cases in a day — the highest in any city in the country in a day at the time — has now come down to around 1.3%.

Officials say this is because of a combination of factors such as easy availability of ICU beds, better care in hospitals because of fewer patients and an overall lower case count.

Delhi has seen close to 150 cases per day over the past month and an average of 4 deaths a day.

“The most heartening figure in this whole past month has been the case fatality ratio. In any disease, especially a disease as contagious as Covid, the most important thing is that people are treated and cured. While the national case fatality percentage is around 2.5%, in Delhi it is 1.71%. Despite Delhi being among the cities that was worst hit by the pandemic, we have managed to keep the death rate down. We believe this rate will go down further in the coming few days if things keep going the way they have been,” said a senior Delhi government official closely involved in Covid management.

Close scrutiny of trends, however, is being maintained to make sure another wave is not seen in the city suddenly.

“Because of the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, we have to be cautious regardless of the situation at present. We are keeping a close watch on cases in each district and also among people flying in,” the official said.

Vaccinations pick up

Delhi saw the best ever vaccination figures to date on Thursday as 24,417 people received the shot. Of these, 20,880 received the first shot and 3,537 got the second shot. Of those who got vaccinated, 13 reported minor adverse events. On Wednesday, the vaccination numbers were 15,337.

Healthcare workers who got their first vaccine shot in mid-January are now getting the second dose. While the numbers turning up for the second dose were low initially, they have started to pick up now. Frontline workers such as police officials and MCD employees have now started to receive the first shot of the vaccine.

By March, it is expected that those above the age of 50 and those with co-morbid conditions will be eligible for the shot.

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