31 Oct 2020: Coronavirus: Delhi crosses 5,000-mark for third straight day, rings alarm
Delhi is once again being burdened by coronavirus caseload, as for the third consecutive day on Friday, the National Capital recorded more than 5,000 cases. On Friday, a record 5,891 fresh cases came to the fore; on Thursday, Delhi reported 5,739 cases, and on Wednesday, 5,673 cases.
Despite this, the Aam Aadmi Party-led government is not calling it the third wave, just yet.
Numbers: Positivity rate nearing 10% in Delhi
At the time of publishing, Delhi's total cases stood at 3,59,488. Since the outbreak, 6,312 have lost their lives to the highly-contagious disease.
On Friday, 4,433 recoveries and 47 deaths were reported. A total of 3,27,390 have recovered so far.
As per reports, the positivity rate is also rising in Delhi, with nearly one in every ten people testing positive for the virus.
Beds: ICU beds occupied; LNJP has merely 14 vacant
As expected the uptick in coronavirus cases has affected healthcare facilities, with more and more patients being admitted.
At LNJP Hospital, the biggest COVID-19 facility in Delhi, there has been a worrying rise in ICU patients.
By Friday evening, out of the 200 ICU beds with ventilators, merely 14 were unoccupied.
Of Delhi's total 1,244 ICU beds with ventilators, 783 are occupied.
Fact: LNJP's official said pollution is also a factor
"We used to have 40-50 ICU patients every day but now we are seeing 80-90 for the last 3-4 days. Due to pollution and COVID-19, the oxygen levels go down for the patient and respiratory issues get worse," said LNJP's Medical Director Dr. Suresh Kumar.
Statement: Too early to talk about third wave: Satyender Jain
Though there have been concerns about Delhi being hit by the third wave, the first wave came in June and the second in September, Health Minister Satyender Jain said on Thursday that it was too early to declare it so, although it could be a possibility.
He also said the government changed its strategy, and now tests closed contacts of infected ones twice.
Fact: Consider masks as a vaccine against coronavirus, said the minister
"Around 35% of our beds are occupied. Spike in cases is due to aggressive contact tracing and testing. Until there is a vaccine, masks should be considered as a vaccine. If you wear masks, it'll protect you from pollution and COVID-19 both," Jain said yesterday.
Details: On Monday, Union Home Ministry will hold meeting
Concerned about Delhi's situation, the Union Home Ministry has convened a review meeting on Monday with officials from the Delhi government.
Chaired by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, the meeting will also be attended by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and NITI Aayog member Dr. VK Paul, sources told HT.
Concrete steps to check coronavirus spread will be suggested to the Delhi government.
Looking back: Centre intervened after first wave as well
This would be the second time, the Centre would be intervening to control Delhi's worrying rise in coronavirus cases.
After the first wave, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had stepped in, holding multiple meetings with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and L-G Anil Baijal.
Shah also green-lit the construction of the world's largest COVID-19 facility in Delhi, having 10,000 beds.
Expert's take: Delhi needs to scale up testing: Expert
While the Delhi government cites an increase in testing for the rise in cases, experts say the positivity rate shows testing has not been adequate.
"The number of tests being conducted needs to be further scaled up," said Dr. Jacob John, former head of the clinical virology department at Christian Medical College in Tamil Nadu's Vellore, adding that pollution is making things worse for Delhi.