Daily Covid-19 fatalities in the national capital fell to their lowest in 48 days on Sunday, as the waning infection count continued to reflect in the city’s decreasing death toll. The city also added fewer than 1,000 new infections for the second consecutive day, while the test positivity rate remained below 2%.
The health bulletin issued by the state government on Sunday shows that 78 people died of the viral infection in the previous 24 hours — the fewest since April 12, when the city saw 72 people succumb to the infection, at a time when cases and deaths were surging as the Capital bore the brunt of a brutal fourth wave of infections. It was also the first time in 46 days that the Covid toll dropped below 100.
So far, 24,151 people in Delhi have died of Covid-19, state government records said. Over 13,100 of these deaths have been recorded in April and May alone, data showed.
Delhi also added 946 new infections on Sunday, a marginal dip from 956 cases the previous day. The seven-day average of infections, known as case trajectory, dropped to its lowest in 64 days, with the city adding less than 1,250 infections each day over the past week. As on Sunday, Delhi’s case trajectory has dropped for 30 consecutive days.
While daily cases began to drop around the second week of May, deaths have not reduced at the same rate, since any drop in case trajectory generally take 14 days to reflect on daily deaths. Studies have shown that the median time between someone testing positive for Covid-19 and dying from it is around 13.8 days.
Meanwhile, the test positivity rate, a crucial metric to understand the spread of an infection in a region, remained below 2% for the fifth day in a row. The Capital on Sunday recorded a test positivity rate of 1.25% on the back of over 75,000 tests.
As a rule of thumb, tracking a region’s positivity rate serves as a good barometer for whether cases are going to increase or decrease in the coming days: a rising positivity rate generally means cases will rise in the immediate future, while a dropping one tends to precede a drop in new infections.
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The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that the positivity rate from a region that has a comprehensive testing programme should be at or below 5% for at least two weeks before it can be considered that the outbreak is under control. In Delhi, this number has been below the threshold for eight days now.
While experts acknowledged as positive the drop in cases and deaths, they reiterated the importance of vaccinations to prevent surges in future.
Dr Jugal Kishore, head of the community medicines department in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, said: “We can safely say that the fourth wave of Covid-19 is over in Delhi. Deaths are also likely to come down because Delhi has recorded a steep decline in cases for over two weeks now. But we have to scale up vaccination at this stage. Supply shortages cannot be an excuse. Governments will together have to work towards resolving that. As cases come down and the positivity rate declines significantly, the number of tests is likely to witness some decline. It follows a natural course. But the government should have its testing infrastructure in place – and make best use of its wide network of dispensaries and mohalla clinics.”