Even with a higher number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases, fewer deaths have been reported as compared to June when Delhi had previously seen a surge in cases, Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said in an interaction with the media on Tuesday.

“If you look at the number of cases, it is comparatively much higher than… during the surge in June. The number of deaths is less than one-third than what was recorded then,” he said, on being asked about the 10-day average case fatality ratio (CFR) crossing the 1% mark.

CFR is the proportion of people who die of Covid-19 among those who have tested positive for the infection. The 10-day CFR stood at 1.07% as per Monday’s health bulletin; lower than the cumulative CFR of 1.93%—calculated based on the total number of cases and deaths reported in the city so far.

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The highest number of deaths recorded in a day during the surge in cases in September was 46. In comparison, the highest number of deaths recorded in a day during the June surge was 101, as per data shared by the chief minister’s office.

The data shows that on average over 77 deaths—somewhat skewed because of the reconciliation of 437 deaths on June 16—had been recorded between the second week of June and first week of July when there had been a surge in Covid-19 cases in Delhi. In comparison, 32 deaths were reported each day on average between the second week of September and now.

“Now, with an increase in testing, more cases are being detected early on and patients are being admitted to hospitals early in case they need further management. This could be one of the reasons for fewer deaths. Another reason could be the standard treatment protocols that are in place now,” said Dr Neeraj Gupta, professor of pulmonology at Safdarjung Hospital.

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The minister also said that the number of ICU beds in the city had been increased by 500 in private hospitals and 500 in government hospitals before the matter was challenged in the Delhi high court by an association of healthcare providers. “The court hasn’t given a judgement in the matter, there is a hearing on October 9. We are increasing ICU beds in government hospitals, but many people who come for treatment from outside the state want to go the private sector only,” said Jain.

He also said over 10,000 RT-PCR tests were being conducted every day in Delhi and all symptomatic persons are being tested. The Centre had claimed that the city can administer up to 27,000 tests a day.

The minister also hit out at the municipal corporations of Delhi (MCDs) over non-payment of salaries to doctors in their hospitals, calling them the “mafia” that earned crores of rupees but did not know how to manage finance. “This is what the MCD does every time. We have already given them the funds as per the tax collection that has happened this year. But the BJP is unable to run the MCD; they cannot manage finances. The building department is a mafia that earns thousands of crores,” Jain said.

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