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Good news from Delhi — Covid cases & fatalities see decline in 2021, 90% hospital beds vacant 

Delhi recorded zero deaths Tuesday, a first in 10 months, even as the average number of fresh cases in February has dropped to below 200 a day. 

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New Delhi: Delhi reporting zero Covid-19 deaths for the first time in 10 months Tuesday, marked a high point in the national capital’s improved fight against coronavirus in the new year. 

The positivity rate in Delhi has dropped to 0.18 per cent as of Wednesday, even though two deaths were recorded in the day, and 91 per cent of the city’s Covid-19 beds are vacant, according to government data.

Of the 5,835 Covid beds in Delhi, 5,352 are vacant, according to data available on the Delhi Corona application. The occupancy rate has, in fact, been declining since mid-January. 

The number of home isolation cases have also reduced substantially in a little over a month this year, from 2,616 on 1 January to 414 on 9 February, according to data obtained from the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare of the Delhi government. 

Daily cases decrease

The number of fresh cases has also dropped this month. On Wednesday, the capital recorded 127 new cases, while on Tuesday there were 100 cases. The average cases so far this month has been below 200. 

The first week of February has seen the lowest average since April 2020. There were 121 cases on 1 February, 114 cases on 2 February, 150 on 3 February and 158 on 4 February. 

Tuesday’s zero death was also the first such instance in 10 months — the last time the capital recorded no Covid deaths was on 11 May.  

“Delhi’s collective will is gradually winning over the infection,” Health Minister Satyender Jain told the media Tuesday.  

Also read: Modi is right: Government deserves no credit for bringing Covid under control in India

Slight rise in fatality rate

The case fatality rate, however, has shown a slight increase from 1.69 per cent on 1 January to 1.71 per cent Tuesday, according to government data. 

It had risen to 1.71 per cent towards the end of January even though the number of deaths had been declining since the beginning of February. 

“The latest drop in deaths this month will reflect in the case fatality rate in the coming few days,” a Delhi government health department official said.  

The official added that there is a decline in the case fatality rate from September end last year, when it was 1.92 per cent. This further dropped to 1.68 per cent by October-end, 1.61 per cent in November before rising slightly to 1.68 per cent in December. 

‘No time to let guard down’

Experts, however, warn against any complacency. Dr Suneela Garg, advisor to the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and part of Delhi’s vaccination plan, said, “While the situation has drastically improved in Delhi, it is important to not let our guard down as the vaccination process is still on. It would be futile if we start celebrating and taking things casually each time cases and deaths decline; we must fight on.”

“The reason for zero deaths could be effective tracking, testing and treatment that has led to decline in transmission,” Garg added. “We have simultaneously started immunisation. Those who are being infected also have mild infections.”

Dr Jugal Kishore, head of community medicine, Safdarjung Hospital, however said that it is significant that the number of deaths have come down.

“There was a point where the number of cases declined last year but the number of daily deaths were constantly high and it was worrying,” Kishore said. “So if the deaths remain low, as healthcare workers, we will be in a position to say that we are in a relatively safer situation than earlier.”

Recently, the Delhi sero survey also revealed that 56.13 per cent of the population had developed Covid-19 antibodies and that the national capital was heading towards herd immunity. 

Also read: Over 76% Covid patients report persisting symptoms 6 months after infection — Lancet study


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