New Delhi: At least 40 COVID 19-related deaths have been recorded in Delhi from April 19 to 27, with experts saying the infection is turning serious mostly in elderly patients and those with comorbidities. The medical experts also said though the number of daily cases in absolute numbers is still not low, the count needs to monitored over the next few days, before one can say if a downward trend has set in or not.
Delhi reported seven COVID-related fatalities for the second consecutive day on Thursday and 865 fresh cases of the viral disease with a positivity rate of 16.9 per cent.
With the new cases and fatalities, the national capital’s COVID caseload has climbed to 20,37,061, while the death toll stands at 26,620, according to data shared by the city government’s health department.
Of the seven fatalities reported on Thursday, COVID-19 was the primary cause of death in three cases, the department said in a bulletin.
On Wednesday, Delhi registered 1,040 cases with a positivity rate of 21.16 per cent and seven fatalities, with COVID being the primary cause of death in three cases.
During the April 19-27 period, the city health department did not issue a bulletin on April 21. In this period, the city registered six COVID-related fatalities each on April 19, 22 and 25.
On April 19, Delhi recorded 1,757 cases with a positivity rate of 28.63 per cent, according to official data. On April 20, the city saw 1,603 cases with a positivity rate of 26.75 per cent and three COVID-related deaths.
The daily case tally stood at 1,515 on April 22, dropping to 948 on April 23 when the city saw a positivity rate of 25.69 per cent and two fatalities.
On Monday, the national capital logged 689 cases with a positivity rate of 29.42 per cent and three COVID-related deaths, according to official data.
The total number of fatalities reported in the April 19-27 period, barring April 21, was 40. Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, a senior consultant at the Apollo hospital here, said, “Deaths are taking place but mostly, elderly patients and those who have comorbidities are getting seriously infected.”
“In the younger population, from the 20s to say late 40s, there are symptoms but those are not getting serious or life-threatening. About 13-14 COVID patients are currently admitted to our hospital, but they are stable,” Chatterjee told a news agency.
Asked if the daily cases are showing a downward trend, he said, “We will have to see the case count over the next four-five days. If it remains less than what was reported on Thursday, then one can say a downward trend has started.”
The 865 cases logged on Thursday emerged from the 5,117 tests, including 3,599 RT-PCR or CBNAAT or True Nat tests, conducted to detect the infection the previous day, the bulletin said.
The number of active cases of the infection stands at 4,279 in Delhi as on Thursday. Of these, 3,143 patients are in home isolation, the bulletin said. Only 296 of the 7,974 COVID-19 beds in the national capital are occupied at present, the data showed.
Other experts also echoed Chatterjee and said the younger population not getting seriously affected by the infection this time could be a result of the “hybrid immunity” drawn from previous COVID episodes and vaccination.
“Many are witnessing fever for three-four days, but cough, body ache and joint pain are persisting for weeks, unlike during the waves seen in 2020-2022,” Chatterjee said.
The number of COVID cases dropped to zero in Delhi on January 16, for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic. However, the city has witnessed a spurt in cases over the last month. On April 11, mock drills were conducted in the Delhi hospitals to ascertain their preparedness to deal with any eventuality.
Medical experts have said Omicron sub-variant XBB.1.16 could be driving the surge in cases in the city. However, they have maintained that there is no need to panic and people should follow COVID-appropriate behaviour and get their booster shots.