In Graphs: Is Delhi Beginning to Slow the Surge? Too Early to Tell

There is a slight dip in test positivity rate from 35 percent on 26 April to 29.56 percent on 3 May.

3 min read
Delhi is grappling with a surge of cases that has left its citizens gasping for breath, on a hunt for ambulances, beds, oxygen and life saving medicines.

As Delhi continued to fight the surge of COVID cases, the Health Ministry in its press conference on 3 May said that the Union Territory may be showing early signs of slowing the spike.

India’s overall cases also reported a dip for the third consecutive day. However, the country still logged 3,449 deaths and 3.57 lakh new cases of COVID on 4 May, taking the cumulative tally in the country to over 2 crore.

What’s behind this ‘slow-down’ that the ministry is ‘cautiously optimistic’ about? As on 3 May, when the ministry shared the data, Delhi had recorded 18,043 cases, against 61,043 tests.

We looked at the data on new cases, deaths and testing done in the capital since 1 April, but it's just too early to tell.

In the beginning of April, Delhi was conducting 75,000 to 90,000 tests in a day. This is a cumulative figure of both RT PCR tests and rapid antigen tests. As on 1 April, Delhi had 2,790 new cases of COVID-19 and the city recorded nine deaths.

Testing Has Slowed Down

The chart above indicates a downward curve when it comes to new cases recorded in the first three days of May. But that downward curve is accompanied by lower testing. It's also indicative of the weekend, when the numbers slow down.

Testing itself has slowed compared to the first half of April, when the city recorded well over 90,000 tests in a day, with some days exceeding the 1 lakh mark. But from 20 April, testing has remained well under 83,000 tests in a day.

Test Positivity Rate

Delhi's test positivity rate, percentage of positives from total samples collected, as on 1 April was around 3.57 percent. It quickly climbed to over 31 percent by 1 May, in a month's time, when the city recorded over 25,000 cases and 412 deaths.

But we looked at test positivity rate over the last eight days, there was a slight dip – from 26 April showing a positivity rate of nearly 35 percent, to 3 May showing a positivity rate of 29.56 percent.

Delhi's Worrying Death Figures

The month of April has been devastating as far as deaths are concerned. As the graph above indicates, the curve swiftly climbed up from 9 deaths on 1 April to 448 deaths on 3 May. These are only the official figures. As several ground reports by journalists indicate, Delhi is underreporting and undercounting its dead.

Doctors also warn of case fatalities going up. As they've been warning from day one, today deaths are hospitalisations from at least two weeks ago, and those hospitalisations are fresh cases from a week before. The pressure on health systems will not ease till the surge truly and consistently slows down.

Lockdown Effect?

Delhi went under full 'COVID curfew' starting 19 April, and that curfew was further extended on 1 May. The graph has mostly held steady ranging from 24,000 to 27,000 cases during the curfew, with first two days of May showing a slight downward trend (a possible weekend-effect). And testing numbers are also indicative of the weekend-effect, with lower testing reported on 26 April and 2 May, both Sundays.

(This story was first published on FIT and has been republished here with permission.)

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