Amid a spike in Covid cases in Delhi, experts on Tuesday said there was no need to panic as the number of coronavirus patients getting hospitalised was still on the lower side but asserted that every individual should exercise caution and follow all safety norms.
Delhi on Monday reported 1,060 new Covid cases in a day and six deaths, the highest in around four months, and a positivity rate of 10.09 per cent, the highest since January 24 when the figure was 11.8 per cent.
The city on Friday had recorded 1,797 coronavirus cases, the highest in nearly four months, along with one fatality while the positivity rate was 8.18 per cent.
Doctors at leading government and private hospitals here concurred that though it wasn’t a “panic situation” but cautioned against lowering the guard, while flagging that many people had stopped wearing mask or stopped putting it on properly at public places, either due to a sense of complacency or fearlessness after getting vaccinated.
“Covid cases have risen significantly in the last one week particularly, but there is nothing to panic at the moment as the rate of hospitalisation is still very low, and severity of infection among people who have contracted the virus is also low.
“People who are elderly or are immuno-compromised or have co-morbid conditions are largely getting hospitalised,” said Dr. Suranjit Chatterjee, a senior consultant at Apollo Hospitals.
“Also, people have got an immunity now due to prior Covid infection and also from vaccination, which is also helping in keeping the infection at mild-level largely,” he told PTI.
Asked whether restrictions should be brought back, Chatterjee who is himself a Covid survivor, said, economy cannot be kept in a lockdown forever.
“We need to live with this pandemic, but make sure all necessary caution is exercised, especially wearing masks. People who get any symptoms should isolate themselves so that infection does not spread,” the doctor said, while underlining that a large number of people these days are either going for rapid antigen test or using kits made for self-use at home.
On Sunday, the city had logged 1,530 Covid cases with a positivity rate of 8.41 per cent and three deaths. The day before, it had reported 1,534 Covid cases with a positivity rate of 7.71 per cent and three deaths.
Dr Ritu Saxena, Deputy Medical Superintendent at LNJP Hospital, echoed similar reactions and urged people to isolate themselves immediately if they get any Covid-like symptoms — fever, sore throat, loose motion and body ache.
“Many people who have contracted Covid symptoms or asymptomatic are roaming around, going to workplace, visiting public places like markets and theatres, and thus spreading the infection. Also, people are either getting tested with a RAT (rapid antigen test) kit or self-use kit at home, or not getting tested at all,” she said.
Both the doctors said the number of patients admitted or seeking consultations after getting Covid-like symptoms is increasing at their hospitals.
“At LNJP Hospital, currently 27 Covid patients are admitted, and three of those are on ventilator,” she said.
LNJP Hospital is the mainstay of the Delhi government in its fight against the pandemic, whose first case in the city was reported in March 2020.
Despite the rise in the positivity rate, the city government has not implemented the graded response action plan (GRAP) devised by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority since the hospital admissions are low.
The GRAP came into force in August last year, stipulating measures to be taken by the government in accordance with the positivity rate and bed occupancy for locking and unlocking of various activities.
According to the Monday health bulletin, of the 9,506 hospital beds, 241 were occupied, down from 249 on Sunday, while none of the beds at Covid Care Centres and Covid Health Centres were occupied.
As many as 4,095 patients are under home isolation, as on Monday, up from 3,781 the previous day, while there were 265 containment zones in the city.
The number of daily COVID-19 cases in Delhi had touched the record high of 28,867 on January 13 this year during the third wave of the pandemic.
Experts have said people lowering their guard and travelling during the vacation season are the main reasons behind the latest upward trend in coronavirus cases in Delhi.
Dr Richa Sareen, consultant of pulmonology at Fortis hospital, said, “While cases have shown a rise in the last several days, this is not a panic situation. However, everyone needs to wear mask in public places and adhere to all the Covid-appropriate norms, as much as possible.
“Offices, schools and markets can’t be closed all the time, so we will have to be alert and exercise caution ourselves. Unless there is a very rapid rise in cases or number of hospitalised patients go up very drastically, when the authorities would anyway take action”.
She said, people are showing mild symptoms in general, “so it seems a sub-variant of Omicron only is in circulation”.