People letting their guard down and not following social distancing norms are leading to a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Delhi, experts said on Thursday, while stressing that these fluctuations also indicate that the disease is at the endemic stage.
On Wednesday, the number of fresh cases of the infection breached the 2,000-mark in Delhi after nearly 180 days. The worrisome part was also the fact that five fatalities due to the disease were recorded after June 25, when six people had succumbed to it.
However, doctors said the patients are recovering faster and only those with comorbidities are being hospitalised.
“We are seeing the number of Covid cases going up mainly among young people and those with comorbidities. No one is wearing masks, people are visiting overcrowded spaces by letting their guard down and not washing their hands frequently. People are certainly lagging in their defence,” said Dr Avi Kumar, senior consultant, pulmonology, Fortis Escorts, Okhla.
He, however, added that the number of patients requiring hospitalisation is low and that most people infected with the disease are complaining of fever for a day or two with upper respiratory tract symptoms.
“Those with comorbidities like heart, kidney and lung issues are getting admitted to hospitals,” Kumar said.
Dr Jugal Kishore, the head of the community medicine department at the Safdarjung Hospital, said this happens when the disease nears the endemicity stage. He said it is now known that the virus is not impacted by heat, humidity or changes in weather conditions.
“The immunity has also lowered in the patients who have been vaccinated. Also, the number of cases started rising during the festive season, when there is an increase in foreign travel. The Kanwar Yatra concluded recently and then there were other festivals too,” he added.
Doctors said in many cases, patients who visited hospitals for the treatment of some other illnesses were found Covid positive.
Dr SCL Gupta, medical director of the Batra Hospital, said there have been instances when patients came to hospitals for surgeries or gynaecological treatments and were found to be Covid positive.
“We had to isolate them. Initially, they were a bit apprehensive but they understood the situation,” he said.
Dr Subhash Giri, medical director of the Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital, concurred with Gupta and said Covid is a secondary infection and even in those who succumbed to it at the hospital, the infection was not the primary reason for the deaths.
Giri stressed that surveillance among the community has to be strengthened to detect if there are new sub-variants and said there is a minor increase in hospitalisations, but it is primarily among those who have accompanying health conditions like diabetes or those who had come for some other treatments.
Dr Akshay Budhraja, the head of the pulmonology department at Aakash Healthcare, said, “There is a sudden upsurge in the number of Covid cases. The symptoms are similar to what we have witnessed earlier, just that the number of cases is high.
“There are sudden ups and downs in the number of cases throughout the year. Earlier, it was four-five patients every week. These days we are witnessing the same numbers on a daily basis. The senior citizens admitted are also diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension and renal diseases. Three senior citizens were admitted to our hospital this week. This is a warning that the Covid safety guidelines should be followed strictly. Masking and frequent handwashing with soap and water are to be practised on a regular basis to avoid the spread of the virus.”