Highest Spike in COVID Cases in Delhi; Winter & Diwali Cause Worry

Delhi’s COVID-19 positivity rate stood at 13.26 percent while the recovery rate was over 89 percent.

Updated
COVID-19
3 min read
A jogger wears a pollution mask early morning amidst light smog in New Delhi. The national capital’s air quality dropped to the season’s worst on the morning after Diwali.
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Delhi recorded 7,830 fresh COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, 10 November, the highest single-day spike till date, taking the infection tally in the national capital to over 4.5 lakh.

The national capital recorded more than 80 fatalities due to COVID-19 for the third consecutive day on Tuesday, taking the death toll to 7,143.

The positivity rate stood at 13.26 percent, while the rate of recovery was over 89 percent.

The previous highest single-day spike till date here, 7,745 cases, was recorded on Sunday.

According to a health bulletin issued by the Delhi government, 59,035 COVID-19 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours.

The national capital has noted a wave first during the end of June, the second in mid September, and the third at the end of October, which seems to be worsening now in November. Why are cases increasing exponentially?

Experts and the health ministry have pointed out that the spike could be owing to the festive season approaching, opening of essential services and allowing movement of people.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain in the past partly attributed this rise in case positivity rate to contact tracing and targeted testing of the population.

Every year, the city is known for his poor air quality during Diwali which coincides with the winter season.

Air Pollution Can Worsen COVID

A total ban on the sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers has been imposed in the National Capital Region (NCR) from 9 November to 30 November by the Delhi government.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on 5 November, spoke about the double threat from COVID-19 and air pollution faced by the residents of the national capital.

“The government and the people of Delhi are putting in all the effort to resolve this issue. COVID-19 situation is getting worse because of pollution. Every year, we see this deteriorating air because of stubble burning in the neighbouring states. Unfortunately, the governments have not provided an alternative to these farmers.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

“Oxygen and ICU beds are being increased in the Delhi government hospitals,” Kejriwal tweeted.

Poor Air Quality, Drop in Temperature, Laxity on the Part of People

Experts have pointed out that during the winter season, the air pollution due to the festive season, and particulate matter remain suspended in the air or smog for a longer period.

"Symptoms like coughing and sneezing are more in polluted environment and if patient is suffering from any respiratory infections like COVID then there are more chances of dispersion of droplets," told Dr Sandeep Nair, Director and Head of Department, Center for Chest and Respiratory Diseases at Delhi's BL Kapoor Hospital, reported Quint FIT.

Quint FIT had earlier reported that research and from all over the world have shown a correlation between pollution and COVID severity. Most notable is an ecological study from the Harvard University, which found that even a small increase in PM2.5 levels was associated with an 8 percent increase in COVID-19-related deaths.

Dr Richa Sarin, Consultant, Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine at Vasant kunj's Fortis Hospital told Quint FIT that the surge in coronavirus cases “is the combined result of worsening air quality, drop in temperature and laxity on the part of people in adhering to the measures of social distancing and wearing masks, especially during the festive times.”

If a person already has a history of respiratory ailments, he is vulnerable to contracting the novel coronavirus, and is at a huge risk due to the poor air quality, doctors have weighed in.

“Exposure to polluted air is known to cause inflammation and cellular damage, making it easy for the virus or any other pathogenic microbe to invade our lungs and also that this process of inflammation may suppress early immune response to infection, making an individual more susceptible.”
Dr Vivek Nangia, Principal Director and Head of Pulmonology at Max Super Specialty Hospital, Saket to Quint FIT
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