For the third consecutive day, Delhi recorded over 5,000 new coronavirus cases with a new 24-hour high of 5,891 on Friday. Delhi had recorded its second-highest cases on Thursday at 5,739. Total cases are now at over 3.81 lakh.
47 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours and 4,433 people recovered. Delhi’s total active cases are at 32,363 while deaths are at 6,470.
3.42 lakh total people in Delhi have recovered so far and the recovery rate stands at 89.8 per cent while the death rate is 1.7 per cent.
The Delhi government is not calling it the capital’s third wave yet but has said that it would wait for a few days and observe the trend. The government said that the numbers are rising because of tighter contact tracing and testing. On Friday, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain cautioned against the double-whammy of COVID-19 and pollution.
“Around 35 per cent of our beds are occupied. Spike in cases is due to aggressive contact tracing and testing. Until there is a vaccine, masks should be considered as vaccine. If you wear masks, it’ll protect you from pollution and COVID-19 both,” he said.
Doctors at the LNJP Hospital, Delhi’s biggest Covid care facility say they are now seeing almost twice the number of ICU patients because of the air pollution.
As of Friday, evening out of LNJP’s 200 ICU beds with ventilators, only 14 were vacant. Delhi has a total of 1,244 ICU beds with ventilators out of which 783 or 63 per cent are occupied.
Dr Suresh Kumar, Medical Director of LNJP Hospital told NDTV, “When temperature dips, the severity of the disease increases. We are seeing more serious patients in Emergency. We used to have 40-50 ICU patients every day but now we are seeing 80-90 for the last 3-4 days. Due to pollution and Covid, the oxygen levels go down for the patient and respiratory issues get worse.”
The Union Health Secretary held a meeting on Thursday with the Health Secretary of Delhi over the spike in cases. The Delhi government told the centre that the spike is because of deteriorating air quality, increasing incidences of respiratory disorders, social gatherings during festivities, clusters of positive cases at workplaces and fatigue among frontline workers. Centre has asked Delhi to aggressively ramp up testing and increase RT-PCR tests, focus on contact tracing and effectively enforce isolation of the traced contacts within first 72 hours.
A report by the National Centre for Disease Control on October 8 had said that Delhi may see up to 15,000 daily cases in the winter out of which nearly 3,000 every day would need to be admitted in a hospital.