Delhi’s Covid-19 Tally Tops The 30,000-Mark: In Charts 
A mobile Covid-19 sample collection booth in New Delhi. (Source: PTI)

Delhi’s Covid-19 Tally Tops The 30,000-Mark: In Charts 

The number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in Delhi crossed the 30,000-mark and pace of increase has quickened as India eases lockdown restrictions.

New Delhi, home to 20 million people, is showing a rapid increase in the number of viral infections and is catching up with Mumbai which to date has more than 50,000 cases—the most among Indian cities.

Delhi added 1,366 cases, taking the total count to 31,309 in the national capital, according to an update from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday said the number of infections in the capital is expected to touch the 5 lakh-mark by July-end.

While Delhi took 78 days to record its first 10,000 Covid-19 cases, it took 13 days to record the next 10,000 cases and another eight to reach 30,000 cases.

The number of infections in Delhi is doubling at a faster pace than in Mumbai—13 days to the financial capital’s 20. The doubling rate in Mumbai was 11 days on May 6, according to BloombergQuint’s calculations.

The problem in the national capital seems much more widespread compared to Mumbai, hence controlling it is much more difficult, according to Dr. Anand Krishnan, professor at Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi. “Beyond a certain point there is so much you can do, test more and treat more is the way out of the situation.”

To be sure, Delhi which reported its first Covid-19 case on March 2, has been adding, on average, more than 1,300 cases everyday in the last seven days.

“This is the natural progression of the virus; similar to what has happened in Mumbai, which already is now showing signs of improvement with doubling time increasing, and R0 reducing,” Dr Giridhar R Babu, professor and head of lifecourse epidemiology at Public Health Foundation of India, told BloombergQuint over the phone.

He said there are three factors that are contributing to Delhi reporting high number of cases and one of the them being the national capital has the highest tests per million in the country. Delhi has so far tested 255,615 people, according to its bulletin on June 8.

Giridhar also attributed the sudden spike in cases to easing of lockdown restrictions and Delhi’s exposure to nearby states. He said that cluster formations and people not following the guidelines, like not wearing masks or maintaining physical distancing will contribute to the rise in cases.

The surge is visible as the state’s health infrastructure has started to feel the pressure, with social media abuzz with accounts of people struggling to find beds in hospitals. The capital region had even closed its borders for a week earlier this month in an effort to contain its outbreak and plan for ahead.

Sisodia, too, accepted on Tuesday that the state does not have the hospital capacity to handle such an outbreak. He said as the cases grow to 5,50,000 by the end of July, Delhi will need 80,000 beds compared with its current capacity of nearly 9,000.

The Delhi government dashboard showed the city had 8,975 Covid-19 beds, with more than half of them occupied. Of the 104 hospitals listed, 25 had no beds available. The dashboard, which also tracks the availability of ventilators, showed that only 260 of the 494 ventilators were in use as of Tuesday evening.

“What we’re seeing is an area where there’s definite spread of infection because of social mixing, and also infected people undergoing a great struggle to get them tested in Delhi, which is further adding to the increase in cases,” T Sundararaman, health system expert and former executive director of National Health Systems Resource Centre, said.

Giridhar suggested that Delhi should prevent cluster formation and ban congregations of more than 5-10 people to contain the surge in cases.

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