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COVID-19 cases begin to rise once more in Delhi

COVID-19 cases are once again rising in Delhi, said Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Thursday. While COVID-19 cases have increased in the capital, it has been reported that people are not developing severe disease and the hospitalisation rate is low.

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Given the severity of lockdowns in neighbouring China following outbreaks in cities such as Shanghai, there is a risk of panic of a resurgence. The Health Minister has sought to dispel these fears, citing the low severity of the outbreak, despite the increasing cases.

“Though Covid cases have increased in Delhi, people are not developing severe disease and the hospitalisation rate is low. This is because our population is fully vaccinated and a large number of people have had the disease in the past,” Jain told reporters.

Earlier this year when Delhi had around 5,000 active cases, Jain said, 1,000 people would require hospitalisation. Of the 9,390 beds available for COVID-19 patients in various hospitals, only 148 (1.58 percent) are occupied.

Of the COVID-19 cases recorded on Thursday, Delhi counted 1,367 cases, accounting for 58.61 percent of the daily burden of the disease in India. This was followed by Maharashtra with 186 cases and the rest of the cases were reported in other states.

As noted by Health Issues India “Cases surged to an all-time high in mid-September of 2020, hitting what was then a record point of more than 100,000 new daily cases. Following this, cases began to gradually fall, with the international community at the time hailing India as a clear case of handling and curtailing a crisis. Cases plateaued and remained at a low point — though still ever-present — until late February.”

Globally, cases have fallen significantly since the peaks that occurred during the Omicron wave. At its highest points, Omicron was at least in part responsible for 3.8 million cases per day. Cases have since fallen to pre-Omicron levels, at around 400,000 to 600,000 per day. Deaths attributed to COVID-19 have likewise fallen, now roughly half of what they were before the Omicron wave, giving hope that the worst may be over.

This is, however, not a call for complacency. Caseloads are still high across the globe, leaving the ever present possibility of mutation occurring. The Omicron strain was reportedly less deadly than previous strains such as Delta. In addition, it was more virulent, allowing the weaker strain to proliferate among the population. This may have allowed natural immunity to spread among the population while causing fewer deaths than other strains. However, should a mutation arise that makes Omicron more deadly, the combination of a more virulent strain with a higher mortality rate could be a significant danger.

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