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Need to watch trend to tell if Covid death peak has hit in Delhi: Experts

The number of Covid cases in Delhi has come down after registering a record surge a week ago, but the daily fatalities trend needs to be watched for the next few days

Covid testing

Press Trust of India New Delhi
The number of Covid cases in Delhi has come down after registering a record surge a week ago, but the daily fatalities trend needs to be watched for the next few days to tell if the death count has reached its peak, according to medical experts.
Senior doctors at leading Covid facilities, both state-run and private, have emphasised that the peak in death cases happen generally a week or two after the peak in the daily cases tally.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Thursday had said that it seems the peak of the third Covid wave in the national capital has gone past, even as he cautioned that the city was not out of the danger zone yet.
Delhi saw a record surge in daily cases recently with over 28,000 cases registered in a day on January 13, and the positivity rate too had gone beyond 30 per cent on January 14.
The daily case count has come down in the last few days, and the city logged 12,306 cases on Thursday. It also recorded 43 deaths on that day, the highest since June 10.
Experts on Friday said this is a general epidemiological trend and death count peak is generally seen 7-14 days after the peak in daily cases as patients' condition deteriorate later after testing positive.
A senior doctor at the Delhi government-run Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) said, "Very few hospital admissions are being seen in this wave, compared to the previous ones.
But any patient who has got admitted after testing positive, generally dies after his or her condition deteriorates in the next one week or so, and hence, death tally will peak later than the cases tally," the doctor said.
In this wave, led largely by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, even if one family member is getting infected, almost the entire family is contracting the infection, the doctor said.
Because of this, everybody is getting isolated quickly, so the recovery is also taking place simultaneously and hence, quick rise will also be followed by quick fall in cases", the senior doctor said.
Nearly 400 deaths have been reported in the month of January so far, according to official data.
Eight of these deaths were registered on January 5, when the city had witnessed a massive surge in Covid cases amid a growing scare of the Omicron variant. The number of fatalities kept showing an upward trend since then.
The health bulletin issued on Thursday said the death toll due to Covid in Delhi stood at 25,503. The death tally on December 31 was 25,107.
The daily cases count on Thursday was 12,306 at a positivity rate of 21.48 per cent, the bulletin stated.
Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, a senior consultant at Apollo Hospitals here, said it will be early to say, if the death peak has crossed. He said that after that record surge a week ago, which is being seen as a peak, cases have come down. Even the number of calls I was getting for medical consultations from patients have come down a lot in the past few days, indicating situation is improving.
However, more deaths are being reported now, as death cases peak a week or two later, Chatterjee said.
He, however, argued that the number of tests have been reduced, as per new guidelines, and though the number of cases is on the wane, the trend needs to be watched.
"We need to watch the daily fatalities trend, and see how the figures go, only then can any assessment be made on whether death case have peaked or we are past it," Chatterjee said.
He also said that the government must share details about fatalities that have happened in Delhi in the third wave, as to whether these were due to Omicron or some other variant, otherwise, "we doctors would also remain in the dark, when it comes to formulating a strategy to combat the pandemic".
The national capital on January 13 had reported 28,867 COVID-19 cases, the sharpest single-day spike here since the beginning of the pandemic, with a positivity rate of 29.21 per cent. The city had recorded 31 deaths on that day.
Dr Richa Sareen, consultant, pulmonology at Fortis hospital here, echoed Chatterjee, and said, the number of death cases will have to be assessed over the next few days, before coming to any conclusion on whether it has peaked or not.
"I was comparing data of January 2022 with those from May 2021, and the situation is almost similar, in terms of number of cases and positivity rate, but number of deaths are far less," she said.
Over 28,000 cases and 277 deaths were recorded on April 20 last year, rising to 306 fatalities on April 22. On May 3, the city had registered a record 448 deaths, as per the official data.
Sareen said, the number of admission to hospitals is negligible this year compared to the harrowing situation last year during the brutal second wave of the pandemic, adding even lesser number of patients going to ICU.
"Multiple factors can be attributed to it, one is that Omicron variant is largely milder compared to the Delta one we saw last year. Secondly, people are vaccinated so there is some level of protection, especially those who got both the shots, and those who got infected in the past, also have some in-built immunity," the doctor said.
The number of cumulative cases in Delhi on Thursday stood at 17,60,272. Over 16.66 lakh patients have recovered from the infection, as per official data.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jan 21 2022 | 5:50 PM IST

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