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Coronavirus: Delhi overtakes Mumbai in a race no one wants to win

Delhi surpasses Mumbai in the tally of Covid-19 cases

The spurt is mainly on account of increased testing, say experts

NEW DELHI: Delhi surpassed Mumbai in the tally of Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, thereby becoming India’s worst-hit city. In all, 3,788 new cases of the viral infection were reported taking the total to 70,390, 862 more than Mumbai’s.

The capital’s death toll mounted to 2,365 with 64 fatalities reported in the past 24 hours. It is, however, significantly lower than Mumbai where 3,964 people have died since March.

The first cases reported in Delhi and Mumbai were on March 2 and 11, respectively. By March 31, there were 151 cases in Mumbai, while Delhi had 97. However, the spread of infection picked up speed in Mumbai over the next two months taking the tally to 39,686 by May 31. The financial capital recorded its highest single-day tally on May 22 when 1,751 new cases were confirmed. Delhi, on the other hand, reported only 19,844 cases till May-end, nearly half the numbers in Mumbai.

Over the past 24 days Mumbai’s daily numbers have been stable, but Delhi’s cases have jumped significantly with a large spike being seen over the past week. The capital reported a record 3,947 new cases in a single day on June 23.

Epidemiologists said the spurt in cases in Delhi was mainly on account of increased testing. “Till about two weeks ago, we were conducting only about 5,000 tests daily. This has gone up to 19,000 now. In all, 41,437 people (59% of the total patients) had recovered from the disease. Our case fatality rate is only about 3%, while Mumbai’s is around 5%,” said a senior health department official.

Dr K Srinath Reddy, president of Public Health Foundation of India, said it was important for people to continue social distancing and wear masks at all times while going out to limit the spread of the disease.

Another health official said that direct contacts of Covid-19 patients, who ought to isolate themselves, were going out and mixing with people. “People must realise their responsibilities. We need their active participation to control the outbreak,” he added.

“Even in Covid-dedicated hospitals, I have found people sitting in groups for lunch or tea with their masks hanging on the neck. Such lackadaisical approach of healthcare workers or patients can have disastrous results. People should understand that wearing masks is the most important way of reducing the risk of infection,” said a senior doctor, who is part of the task force constituted by the Centre to advise in controlling the crisis in the capital.

Recently, the government had decided that all mild or asymptomatic cases without home isolation facilities would be shifted to Covid care centres, while those with moderate to severe illness would be transferred to hospitals.

The Standard Operating Procedure for management of Covid-19 patients prepared by Delhi’s health department states that people with comorbidities, such as diabetes, hypertension and a compromised immunity, should be kept in institutional quarantine regardless of the severity of symptoms because they can develop serious complications.

In Video:Delhi surpasses Mumbai in the tally of Covid-19 cases

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25th June 2020

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