New Covid-19 cases crossed the 5,000-mark for the first time in Delhi on Wednesday. The city recorded 5,674 cases between Monday and Tuesday, taking Delhi’s overall case tally to 3,70,014. The high-level expert committee, led by NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul, had told the Delhi government that the city could see over 15,000 cases per day closer to Diwali.
Increased activity in offices and markets, Delhi government officials said, was behind the spike and that the case tally could be high till a week after Diwali. “Over the past two weeks, more and more offices have reopened. We have also seen a lot of activity in markets, owing to the festive season. Social distancing norms are not being followed, leading to crowding in many areas; a majority of people are not wearing masks. We believe people have grown tired of staying indoors. With several weddings taking place in the past week, small gatherings are being held. All these factors result in an increased case count,” the official said.
The rate of recovery has not managed to keep pace with the sudden increase in cases. While the number of active cases in the city was a little over 21,000 on October 14, it stood at 29,378 on Wednesday. Active cases include those in hospitals, Covid care centres as well as patients under home isolation. There are 16,822 people under home isolation, and 5,730 are admitted in hospitals.
The case fatality rate in Delhi is 1.73%, and 6,396 people have died of the viral disease so far. The cumulative positivity rate is 8.19% (since March). Wednesday’s positivity rate stood at 9.37%, which officials said was worrying.
“It is not the number of cases in a day that is the biggest factor, but the positivity rate. We were never scared of big numbers because at one point we were testing over 60,000 people every day. The positivity rate had fallen to below 6% a couple of weeks ago. An increase of three to four percentage points in such a situation shows that the incidence of disease among people is increasing,” said the government official.
The only silver lining is that hospital bed availability is much better this time around as compared to in June, when a sudden jump in cases was seen. In mid-June, the number of total active cases were similar to what they were on Wednesday – around 30,000. While there were a total of close to 13,500 Covid beds in the city at the time – and almost half of them were occupied, on Wednesday, there were over 15,700 Covid beds – with a third of them occupied.
“We are much more comfortably placed in terms of hospital beds this time primarily because the rate of hospitalisation is not that high anymore. Protocols have changed and more people are being allowed home isolation,” another Delhi government official said.
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