Record 28K+ COVID-19 cases in Delhi; positivity rate nears 30%
Delhi witnessed the biggest single-day surge in COVID-19 cases on Thursday, with 28,867 people testing positive for the disease. The positivity rate also rose to 29.2%, suggesting that one out of every three persons tested was found infected. The previous biggest spike of 28,395 single-day infections was recorded on April 20. Active cases in Delhi are now approaching one lakh.
Why does this story matter?
- The previous single-day spike was recorded during India's brutal second wave of COVID-19, driven by the Delta variant.
- The ongoing third wave has been attributed to the more contagious Omicron variant of coronavirus.
- Experts predict that Delhi may end up seeing as many as 60,000 single-day infections.
- The Omicron variant has triggered a surge in infections worldwide.
Fewer hospitalizations, deaths this time
Delhi has 94,160 active cases with 2,424 people admitted to hospitals (628 in ICUs). Comparatively, over 18,000 people were hospitalized (5,700 in ICUs) during the second wave (April-May 2021). When the second wave peaked, the high hospitalization rate had also caused oxygen scarcity. Delhi has reported 164 deaths in January so far, compared to 448 deaths that were reported on May 3, 2021, alone.
Situation stabilized: Health Minister
"The number of hospitalizations as compared to new cases coming daily is currently under control," Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Thursday. Only a few patients are admitted to ICUs solely because of COVID-19 and most were being "treated for some other disease," he said. Hospital bed occupancy was under 15% on Wednesday and the government has prepared for 37,000 beds, he added.
Hospital admissions cannot determine outbreak peak: Epidemiologist
Epidemiologist Dr. Chandrakant Lahariya pointed out that hospital admission data alone cannot be used to determine if the peak has passed. "The number of daily cases and the positivity rate should be used to determine the peak," Dr. Lahariya told Mint. "Hospitalization depends on the criteria adopted for admissions (in a particular region), he said, concluding that hospitalizations are critical for public health planning.
Unvaccinated people at greater risk
According to official data, 70 of the 97 people who died of COVID-19 in Delhi between January 9 and 12 were unvaccinated. Nineteen of the other 27 had only received one shot. Only eight people were fully vaccinated. This is in line with a Michigan hospital study where 12.06% of unvaccinated people, 7.69% of people who were fully vaccinated and boosted (three doses) died.
Which age group is most vulnerable?
In Delhi, 37 of the 97 individuals who died were between the ages of 41 and 60. Twenty-seven were between the ages of 61 and 80, while eight were over the age of 80. Seventeen of the remaining 25 were minors, and 18 were between the ages of 19 and 40. Jain said the deaths were triggered due to co-morbidities.