Delhi: Nov crucial, docs expect rise in Covid cases in festival season

Experts across the city said the coming months are going to be challenging and people need to be extra cautious.

People flouting social distancing norms in small gatherings amid festival season, change in weather and no restrictions on border movement — these factors may cause Delhi’s Covid cases to shoot up two-three times, health experts said.

For the last three days, Delhi has been reporting over 4,000 cases daily. On Monday, 2,832 people tested positive after authorities conducted 34,411 tests. With 54 deaths in the last 24 hours, the capital also reported the highest casualties since July 7, taking the total toll to 6,312.

Over the last one week, the daily positivity rate — the percentage of people who test positive for the disease versus those who were tested — has also increased. Monday saw a daily positivity rate of 8.23%.

Experts across the city said the coming months are going to be challenging and people need to be extra cautious.

Dr S K Sarin, head of the Institute of Liver and Biliary Science and chief of the first expert committee formed by the Delhi government, said “I can’t say it is the second wave because we never saw the first wave subsiding… However, daily numbers will increase in the coming days… may go up to two-three times of what we are seeing right now — from 4,000 daily cases, it can go up to 8,000-10,000 cases per day, especially in November. We need to stay extra cautious because those exposed in the first week will develop symptoms by the end of November. Those exposed on Diwali will show symptoms two weeks later. So, the whole of November, we need to stay extra cautious. People should continue wearing masks else the disease will spread.”

A revised containment strategy prepared by an expert committee, led by NITI Aayog member Dr V K Paul, has suggested a series of measures for containment zones, testing, management of home isolation cases, contact tracing and overall preparedness of hospitals. It said city hospitals should be prepared for a surge of 15,000 positive cases a day with the change in season and movement of patients from other states.

Dr Sujeet Singh, member of the expert committee and director of the National Centre for Disease Control, said the surge in cases will continue to fluctuate depending on the seasons and activities in each state and district: “There is a possibility of rise in cases, based on what we know from previous experiences and the surge we are witnessing in Europe and other countries. The waves will fluctuate. In the beginning, we were in a controlled atmosphere. As the gradual unlock happened, the percentage of susceptible population increased. Whenever the load of susceptible population gets added, it may lead to a surge. It can be called a second surge or a third surge. The surge will not be across the country but will depend on states and districts.”

 

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