COVID-19 second wave: Higher positivity rate, oxygen requirements, and death rate explained

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April 20, 2021 1:26 PM

Coronavirus cases in India are reaching new peaks as the second wave is wreaking havoc in India with more than 2 lakh cases surfacing on a daily basis.

india covid cases, india covid 19, coronavirus cases, curve predictions, Epidemiological modelling, covid curveWhen last year’s peak is taken into account, this is a 13.4 percentage point increase.

Coronavirus cases in India are reaching new peaks as the second wave is wreaking havoc in India with more than 2 lakh cases surfacing on a daily basis. This means more people are now positive, thus, increasing the rate of positivity. Also, the positivity rate this year is higher when compared to the first wave of COVID-19 last year. A report by The IE noted that in just one week, more than 13.5 per cent of the total COVID-19 tests have turned out to be positive. On the back of this, the average positivity rate for seven days has been the highest. To be sure, the positivity rate indicates the spread of disease.

Usually what happens is that if testing is ramped up, more positive people come out and the ratio increases. This was the case last year. During the second wave, it is different as the testing numbers are more or less the same when compared to testing in September-October period last year, implying that transmission is much higher than anticipated.

Moreover, the need for supplemental oxygen is much higher than before. Many people have taken to social media to point out how they are being sent from one hospital to another due to lack of oxygen support. In order to deal with this, a key government task force is keeping an eye on the whole process. The data revealed by this task force, as per another IE report, it was noted that 54.5 per cent of people who were admitted to hospitals during the second wave needed supplemental oxygen during treatment.

When last year’s peak is taken into account, this is a 13.4 percentage point increase. The data was collated from 40 centres across India. On Monday, the country recorded 2,73,810 new cases and 1,619 people witnessed Covid-linked deaths. Looking at the active caseload of 19,29,329 cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday held a meeting where he discussed the situation with leading doctors as well as top pharma companies.

The report highlighted that the spread has been more prominent in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities where the majority of people complained about shortness of breath. Balram Bhargava, Director General, ICMR said that the shortness of breath has become a more common symptom this time. While only 41.1 per cent patients needed oxygen last time, the percentage has increased to 54.5 per cent during March-April period of 2021. The majority of patients continue to be above 40 years of age including the ones with comorbid conditions. The younger age group reported slightly higher cases.

Death toll, on the other hand, is similar to what it was reported last year. The significant increase in the number of total caseload and active cases seems to not have made much impact on the death percentage.

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