Additionally, hospitalisation numbers remain a fraction of the city’s total caseload, with fewer than 2,400 beds occupied across the national capital.
Delhi added 27,561 Covid-19 cases and 40 deaths on Wednesday. The city’s daily case count has only ever been higher on April 20 last year, when Delhi added 28,395 infections — the record single-day jump in the city’s infection tally, which came amid the brutal fourth surge of infections.
The fatalities on Wednesday were the most in a day since June 10 last year, when Delhi recorded 44 deaths, and took the city’s overall pandemic toll to 25,240.
Over the last four days, of the 97 Covid-19 deaths reported in the national capital, 72 were patients aged above 40, showed Delhi government data.
Of the deaths reported on Wednesday, most (15) were aged between 61 and 80, the state government data accessed by HT showed. Eleven were between aged between 41 and 60, and nine were in the 19-40 group. Two people who died were above 80 years of age and three were below 18.
The city added nearly 20,500 Covid-19 cases each day over the past week on average.
Wednesday’s fresh infections came on the back of 105,102 tests, nearly 23,000 more than the previous day, as the state continues to shore up its sampling and testing infrastructure. These were also the most samples collected in a day since April 14 last year, when over 108,000 people got tested for Covid-19.
As a result of this surge in testing, the daily case count jumping by more than 6,000 compared to Tuesday, but the test positivity rate rose only by 0.57 percentage point. On Wednesday, 26.22% of all collected samples returned positive results, as compared to 25.65% on Tuesday.
Despite the ongoing surge in cases, with the daily caseload now nearly neck-and-neck with the fourth wave, hospitalisations and deaths continue to be far lower now, with most Covid-19 patients recording milder symptoms that don’t require hospital care. This is because the Omicron variant of the coronavirus currently fuelling Delhi’s fifth wave – and the country’s third — is far less virulent than the Delta configuration of the virus that caused the city’s fourth surge of infections between April and May.
For instance, as Delhi added 28,395 cases on April 20, it also logged 277 deaths of the infection. Similarly, during its third-highest daily spike on April 30, Delhi added 375 Covid-19 deaths.
Delhi currently has over 87,000 active Covid-19 cases, of whom just over 2,300 occupy beds in the city’s hospitals. As a result, nearly 12,500 of Delhi’s 14,802 Covid-19 beds are still vacant, leaving hospitals with enough breathing room in terms of infrastructure, supplies, and staff. The state government has also earlier said that it is in a position to ramp up the city’s Covid-19 bed count to 37,000 within days if required, and eventually to around 65,000, as part of its larger upgrade plan.
HT on January 11 reported that of the 35 of the 46 people (76%) who died of Covid-19 between January 5 and 9 were not vaccinated against Covid-19.
‘Most who died from Jan 9-12 aged over 40’
Of the 97 deaths between January 9 and 12, most were in the 41-60 group, which saw 37 Covid fatalities in that period. The 61-80 age group saw 27 deaths, and the 19-40 group saw 18 deaths.
The fewest deaths, meanwhile, were among those aged 18 or below, with seven of this cohort dying of Covid-19 in these four days.
“While the infections under the Omicron wave are largely showing milder symptoms among patients, but senior citizens and people with comorbid conditions are still the more vulnerable group,” a senior health department official said on Wednesday.
Experts affirmed that most of those hospitalised during the ongoing wave are senior citizens, people with comorbidities and unvaccinated people.
“What we are seeing currently in hospitals is that the symptoms are mild, but people with co-morbidities, people vulnerable, people unvaccinated and elderly people should get themselves tested if there are symptoms. They are the priority for hospitalisations and we need to intervene early for these cases,” said Dr Sumit Ray, head (department of critical care), Holy Family Hospital.