NEW DELHI: The sharp rise in COVID-19 positivity rate (percentage of positive tests to total tests conducted) in Delhi has become a cause of concern for the Centre, which is interpreting this as evidence that the infection is spreading rapidly in the city.
According to the latest data available with the central government, south-east Delhi and Shahdara recorded a positivity rate of 30.4% and 24.86%, respectively on June 3. On the same day, rates of central Delhi and north Delhi rates were 21.24% and 20.52%, respectively.
East Delhi and south-west Delhi stood at 10% and 11.02%, respectively, with New Delhi 4.88% and south Delhi at 5.46%. The consolidated rate for the entire city was 27%.
From the beginning of the outbreak, the overall positivity rate for Delhi until June 3 was 10.27 % — with 23,645 positive cases in 230,145 tests. Between May 16 and May 26, the city registered an average rate of 13.17%.
Union health minister Harshvardhan said on June 4 that the city’s positivity rate in the previous week was 25.7%, while several districts reported figures above 38%. On May 31, the rate had reached as high as 36.2% “Delhi is the new Mumbai. Earlier we were worried about the increasing number of cases in Mumbai but with Dharavi showing some respite, the focus has shifted to Delhi now,” said a senior health ministry official.
‘550,000 cases likely by July-end’
“The rising numbers and the positivity rate of Delhi is definitely a cause of concern,” said the senior health ministry official.
On Tuesday, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Delhi rose to 31,309 with death toll at 905.
From the doubling rate of infections, the Delhi government assesses that by June 15 there will be 44,000 cases, by June 30 there will be 100,000 cases, 225,000 lakh cases by July 15 and 550,000 by July 31. As on Tuesday, Delhi had 8,892 dedicated hospital beds for coronavirus patients, 582 ICU beds, 507 ventilator beds and 3,590 oxygen-supported beds in Covid-designated hospitals.
Keeping in view the increasing number of cases, India’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is also planning to conduct a sero surveillance in Delhi to monitor the spread of coronavirus in populations. The surveillance, experts say, will be conducted to understand trends such as where outbreaks are occurring and which regions are quiet, along with the characteristics of who is getting ill and who is protected.