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

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

As Delhi continues to grapple with the surge of cases that has left its citizens gasping for breath, on a hunt for ambulances, beds, oxygen and life saving medicines, the Health Ministry in its press conference on 3 May said that Delhi may be showing early signs of slowing the surge.

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

What's behind this 'slow-down' that the ministry is 'cautiously optimistic' about? As of May 3rd, when the ministry shared the data, Delhi had recorded 18043 cases, against 61043 tests.

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


In the beginning of April, Delhi was conducting anywhere between 75,000 to 90,000 tests in a day. This is a cumulative figure of both RT PCR tests and rapid antigen tests. As of April 1, Delhi had 2790 new cases of COVID-19 and the city recorded 9 deaths.

Testing Has Slowed Down

The chart above indicates a downward curve when it comes to new cases recorded in the first 3 days of May. But that downward curve is accompanied by lower testing. It's also indicative of the weekend, when the numbers do slow down.

While 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 20th 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 of April 1 was around 3.57 percent. It quickly climbed to over 31 percent as of May 1, 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 8 days, there is a slight dip, 26th April showing a test positivity rate of nearly 35 percent, to 3rd May showing a positivity rate of 29.56 percent.

Delhi's Worrying Death Numbers 

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

The doctors also warn of case fatalities going up. As they've been warning from day one, today deaths are hospitalisations from at least 2 weeks ago, and those hospitalisations are fresh cases from a week before. The pressure on health systems will not ease up till the surge truly and consistently slows down.


Lockdown Effect? 

Delhi went under full 'COVID curfew' starting April 19th, and that curfew was further extended on May 1st. 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 26th April and 2nd May, both Sundays.

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