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Delhi Covid cases breach 15,000-mark, positivity rate at 15%

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain Thursday maintained that none of the deaths so far were in patients confirmed to have the omicron variant.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: January 7, 2022 1:11:26 am
A health worker collects swab sample of an air traveller for Covid-19 test, at T-3 terminal of Indira Gandhi International Airport, in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

Daily Covid cases in the capital breached the 15,000-mark, with 15,097 new cases being reported in Thursday’s health bulletin. The daily positivity rate also surged to 15.34%.

Six more deaths were also reported, taking the total toll to 25,127. This is the sixth day in a row when a death due to Covid-19 has been reported, and the second day when the toll has been more than the entire month of October. Delhi reported only five deaths due to the infection in the entire month of September, four in October, seven in November, and nine in December.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain Thursday maintained that none of the deaths so far were in patients confirmed to have the omicron variant.

However, the government is currently not sequencing all samples to check if the infection is caused by the omicron variant or not. For four months, till the recent surge in cases, Delhi was sequencing almost all positive samples. By last weekend, over 81% of the samples sequenced were that of the omicron variant, showing that it was driving the recent surge.

Jain said: “The purpose of sequencing is to see whether omicron has come to the country and whether it is spreading. Now, we know that it is spreading in the community, so genomic sequencing is not that relevant. We are still sequencing a few hundred samples.”

On the death toll, Jain said, “I would still say that the disease is mild. We have spoken to doctors in Mumbai and even our experienced doctors say the same. Yesterday (Wednesday), there were around 300 deaths in the country. The last time when there were around 10,000 cases on a single day in Delhi, there were about 150-200 deaths. This time, that is not the case.”

Delhi had reported 48 deaths when the single-day spike had crossed the 10,000-mark during the second wave triggered by the Delta variant. The death toll had further climbed to 308 in a single day when the number of cases were waning in the city.

Sharp rise in positivity rate

As per data, it took just over nine days for the positivity rate to shoot up from less than 1% to 15.34% on Thursday.

In comparison, when Delhi was reeling under the delta variant wave in April and May 2021, it took 26 days for the positivity rate to increase from less than 1% to 15%. At the peak, a positivity rate of 36.2% was recorded during the delta wave.

The positivity rate was high despite the government increasing the number of tests; there were 98,484 tests conducted on Wednesday as reported in Thursday’s bulletin.

The number of total tests in the city had crossed the 1-lakh mark only five times during the delta wave. However, at the time, a higher proportion of rapid antigen tests, which are less accurate that RT-PCR test, were conducted.

As of Thursday’s bulletin, there are 31,498 active cases, of whom 1,091 are admitted to city hospitals — 24 patients are on ventilators and 211 on oxygen support.

Despite the increase in cases and deaths, the minister assured that there will be no lockdown as of now as the government is comfortably placed in terms of bed capacity.

“There is a huge difference between the current and the previous wave of infections. Last time when we had 30,000 active cases, about 6,000-8,000 hospital beds were occupied. As of yesterday, there were 782 people in hospitals. Till yesterday, we had 9,000 Covid beds, now we have 12,000. The situation is comfortable so there is no need for a lockdown at the moment. However, just to be safe, a weekend curfew has been implemented. But we need people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour to prevent the infection from spreading,” said Jain.

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