Delhi adds 7,802 new Covid infections, 91 more fatalities

Delhi on Friday reported 7,802 cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), up from 7,053 new infections added the previous day, as the city continued to reel from the effects of a third wave of the disease.

The number of new daily deaths dropped marginally on Friday to 91. With 104 deaths reported, Thursday saw the highest number of deaths due to Covid-19.

Friday’s toll took the overall deaths in the city to 7,423 on Friday.

“When the number of cases rises, there will naturally be an increase in the number of deaths also as we are seeing a Covid-19 mortality rate of 1.48% nationally. Covid-19 beds, especially beds in the intensive care unit (ICU), are nearly full in most hospitals, which means hospitalisations are increasing,” said Dr GC Khilnani, former head, department of pulmonary medicine, All India institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi.

The case positivity rate — the percentage of people who test positive among the total number tested, soared to 13.80% on Friday, up from 11.71% the previous day. The daily case positivity rate has also been averaging at least 10% for the past couple of weeks.

The positivity rate is representative of the ongoing spread of the infection in the city, and the transmission is thought to be controlled when the positivity rate remains below 5% for two weeks.

“As I have observed, there are not only more cases but we are also seeing lightly increased severity in infections these days. That could be one reason why more deaths are taking place,” said Dr Rajesh Chawla, senior consultant, respiratory and critical care medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.

“Looks like it may continue like this for a few weeks before the numbers start coming down,” he added.

The Delhi high court allowed the state government on Thursday to reserve 80% of intensive care unit (ICU) beds in 33 private hospitals for Covid-19 patients for two weeks. Earlier, the state government had increased a total of 500 beds, including 110 icu beds, in eight of its hospitals.

Even with the HC allowing the government to reserve 80% of the total ICU beds, the beds are filling up fast.

“Even as we continue to open more and more ICU beds, they are filling up fast. I am getting so many calls every day requesting a bed. And, if you compare to May or June, we are getting sicker patients, even in the wards. If this continues, I don’t know what will happen,” said Dr Vikas Maurya, director, department of pulmonology and sleep disorders at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh.

To reduce mortality due to the infection, the state government has also ordered all its testing centres to check the patients’ oxygen saturation to prevent deaths from “happy hypoxia”, where a person does not have any apparent breathlessness even as their oxygen saturation drops.

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