Unlike the two minor surges in cases seen in April and June, Covid-19 infections in the capital are continuing to increase with over 2,000 fresh cases being recorded now for five days in a row. As many as 2,423 cases were recorded in Sunday’s health bulletin with a positivity rate of 14.97%. To compare, the numbers had not crossed 1,800 during the two previous surges.
In fact, even when the numbers increased during the previous spikes, the positivity rate – the proportion of samples tested that return positive – shot past 10% only on one day. This is the highest positivity rate recorded in Delhi since January 22 this year when it stood at 16.36% as the Omicron-driven third wave was waning in the national capital.
The number of hospitalisations has also gone up, increasing from around 100 during the third week of July to 449 as per Sunday’s bulletin. The total number of hospitalisations have remained above 400 over the last three days.
Seeing the increase in cases, the Ministry of Health asked Delhi, along with six other states, to ensure Covid-19 appropriate behaviour, adequate testing, surveillance, monitoring of symptoms, and increased vaccination coverage. In a letter, the Union health secretary said the surge in cases was seen in eight of Delhi’s 11 districts and a positivity rate of over 10% was also seen in eight districts.
Delhi has recorded 19 deaths due to Covid-19 in the first seven days of August. To compare, 16 deaths were recorded in the first week of July, with 50 deaths seen during the entire month. In June, three deaths were recorded in the first week and 50 over the entire month.
The hospitalisations and deaths are mainly in people with comorbidities or those who seek treatment for other conditions and are incidentally found to be positive for Covid-19 as well. “The Covid-19 deaths that are now being recorded – just like during the previous Omicron wave – are happening in those who are immune-compromised, such as people undergoing dialysis, suffering from chronic kidney issues, heart diseases or tuberculosis. In fact, in most cases, the detection of Covid-19 is incidental. They are admitted for the treatment of other conditions, they get fever, and when we test them they are found to be positive,” said Dr Suresh Kumar, medical director, Lok Nayak Hospital.
Doctors from across the city said there is an increase in the number of patients seeking consultation for and getting admitted with Covid-19. “There has been a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases in the city. We used to see, say two to three admissions a day, the numbers have more than doubled in the last few days to six to seven admissions a day,” said Dr Atul Gogia, senior consultant (internal medicine) at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.