New coronavirus disease (Covid-19) infections crossed the 2,000 mark for the first time in Delhi and the death toll rose by 129, according to the Delhi government’s health bulletin on Friday that showed both numbers to be at their highest for a single day.
The national capital now has 36,824 cases – up by 2,137 from the day before – and 1,214 deaths, which translates into a case fatality rate of 3.3%. The latest cases came from 5,947 samples, a test confirmation rate of nearly 36%. This proportion was up by one percentage point from a day earlier, after having rise close to 5 percentage points for two days before that.
Across the country, there have been 309,324 cases – less than half of which are active – and 8,882 deaths. The average case fatality ratio comes to 2.9% nationally.
The steady increase in numbers comes during a week when the city has opened up considerably, and the state government began unprecedented preparations to add 100,000 beds in makeshift hospitals in stadiums and community halls.
Experts said the spike is to be expected. “This is the nature of the disease, it will spread. But, there is no need to panic unnecessarily. Even if we assume a low number of 10% of the population getting the infection, it still means 20 lakh people will get infected in Delhi with a population of two crore.
However, most of the infections will be mild. Our focus now has to be on not creating panic but ensuring people who need treatment, get it,” said Dr Jugal Kishore, head of the department on community medicine at Safdarjung hospital.
“People should observe all safety measures like washing their hands frequently and wearing a mask in public,” he added, urging for precautions to be taken.
Delhi’s lieutenant governor Anil Baijal on Friday constituted a high-level expert committee which includes ICMR director general Balram Bhargava to suggest effective steps to deal with the pandemic.
According to the bulletin 58 of the deaths added to the tally were confirmed after a review.
The city’s chief secretary put in place a new standard operating procedure requiring all hospitals to report their Covid-19 death to the integrated disease surveillance programme by 5pm every evening.
In the one month it took for the city’s mortality rate to increase three-fold, the number of cases increased almost five-fold.
The health bulletin data shows there are 22,212 active cases or those living with the infection. Of these, 24% people are admitted to city hospitals. This is the first time the number of people hospitalised with Covid-19 in the city has crossed the 5,000 mark.
A second expert added that the trends suggest there is community transmission of the disease, when the source of infections cannot be traced. “Currently, there is a rising trend in the number of Covid-19 cases. There is definitely community transmission otherwise how can so many cases be reported in a city in one day? Now, all that the government can do is test people and isolate them so that they do not spread the infection to other susceptible people,” said Dr Shobha Broor, former head of the department of microbiology at AIIMS.