New Delhi: Daily cases of the novel coronavirus are once again on the rise in the national capital. On Sunday, Delhi recorded the highest single-day spike in 38 days with 4,136 cases. The last high was recorded on 17 September with 4,432 cases.
With Sunday’s tally, daily cases crossed the 4,000-mark for three consecutive days. Between 23 October and 25 October, Delhi recorded 4,086, 4116, 4136 cases respectively. The last time cases crossed the 4,000-mark was on 19 September, after which there was decline.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, however, said the situation is under control.
As of Monday, Delhi recorded a total of 35,66,56 cases of which 6,258 were fatal while 32,36,54 recovered.
Daily cases surge, positivity rate on the rise
Cases have been on the rise through the last week, nearly doubling in number.
Between 19 October and 25 October, while daily cases rose from 2,154 to 4,136, the positivity rate also increased to 8.43 per cent from 5.91 per cent.
Situation contained in Delhi
Despite the worrying increase in daily cases and positivity rate, the Delhi government said the situation is under control.
“The expert committee had said that due to the cold and the festive season, cases (per day) can spike up to 12,000-14,000. But right now, it’s around 4,000, so the situation is contained,” Jain said Sunday.
ThePrint had reported that a report by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) expert committee headed by Niti Aayog member V.K. Paul — which was submitted to the Delhi government — said the national capital should be prepared for a daily surge of 15,000 positive cases and make arrangements for inpatient admissions with moderate and severe disease.
Hospitals can tackle cases, not a burden yet
According to doctors, the latest spike is a result of the festive season and people’s complacency in following social distancing and wearing masks.
“With the festive season, people have become highly complacent and a false sense of confidence has come that they are safe from Covid. In the last week, due to the festivities, people have met each other freely, which has contributed to the spike,” said Dr S. Chatterjee, internal medicine specialist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.
He added that Delhi’s healthcare system could handle the current situation. “We are ready to tackle the spike now as we have enough beds. But, if we go by the Expert Committee’s estimate of 15,000 cases after the festival season, then there will be huge pressure on hospitals,” Dr Chatterjee said.
Doctors at government hospitals disagreed, though. If cases were to spike up to 15,000, it would still not be much of a burden for hospitals. “Even if cases reach 15,000, not all will need hospitalisation. Only 20-30 per cent positive cases require hospitalisation.
“Even those who are getting admitted are being discharged faster now as recoveries are quicker. So beds are becoming available faster and we don’t foresee unexpected burden on hospitals,” said Dr Ritu Saxena, chief medical officer at the Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital.
Experts reiterated the need to socially distance, noting that only Navratri is over, and Diwali and Dhanteras are approaching.
“People need to stop being complacent and need to avoid crowded areas, wear masks properly and observe hand hygiene. These simple steps will help in reducing the burden of cases,” said Dr D. Prabhakaran, vice-president (research and policy) and director, Centre for Control of Chronic Conditions, Public Health Foundation of India.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.