NEW DELHI: Delhi recorded its highest daily Covid-19 toll with 131 people succumbing to the disease on Wednesday — the same day that the total tally crossed the five-lakh mark with 7,486 fresh cases being reported in the last 24 hours. The earlier highest 24-hour toll was on November 12, when the city had recorded 104 Covid-19 deaths in a day.
The rise in deaths due to the infection is coinciding with the increase in the absolute number of cases, say experts. The last one lakh cases have been reported in Delhi in just 15 days. Among cities, Delhi has the highest number of cases in the country. Mumbai, another city with almost the same population, has recorded 2.7 lakh cases till date. Mumbai has, however, reported 10,615 deaths as compared to 7,943 deaths recorded in Delhi.
Among all states and Union territories, Maharashtra has recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases (16.3 lakh), followed by Andhra Pradesh (8.6 lakh), Karnataka (8.3 lakh), Tamil Nadu (7.4 lakh), Kerala (5.4 lakh) and Uttar Pradesh (5.2 lakh). Delhi is the seventh state to cross the five-lakh cases mark.
The spurt in new cases has overwhelmed the city’s health infrastructure, leaving many seriously ill patients scouting for beds.
According to the Delhi Corona app, which provides real-time updates on availability of hospitals beds, 92% ICU beds with ventilator support and 87% of ICU beds without ventilator support are occupied.
There were no ICU beds available at Guru Teg Bahadur, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Max (Shalimar Bagh, Patparganj and Saket), Apollo, BLK and Manipal hospitals, among others. “We are getting many requests for ICU beds, but there are none available,” said a senior doctor at one of the top private hospitals. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who visited GTB Hospital to review corona preparedness, met doctors and hospital administration to discuss augmentation of ICU beds and other facilities, said on Wednesday that the state government will increase a total of 663 ICU beds in all its hospitals in the next few days.
“Apart from this, with the Centre assuring 750 additional ICU beds, around 1,400 beds will be increased across hospitals in Delhi in the next few days,” he said.
Dr Sumit Ray, chairperson of critical care at Holy Family Hospital, said the death rate due to Covid-19 has gone up in the current peak, also referred to as the third wave, as compared to the peaks witnessed in June and September. “This time around, we are seeing more seriously ill patients. Death rate is very high among persons suffering from diabetes and obesity both,” he said.
Testing has increased, which is leading to more cases, said an official. In the past 24 hours, he added, 62,232 people were tested for Covid-19 in Delhi of which 12.03% (7,486) came positive.