Coronavirus worsens in Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad ahead of Diwali3 min read . Updated: 12 Nov 2020, 01:47 PM IST
- Together, Delhi and Haryana reported 21% of all new cases in India over the last week. Active cases in the two states rose by over 9,200, even when the rest of the country saw a decline
Delhi’s worsening third wave of the coronavirus outbreak appears to have reached neighbouring Haryana this month. The state reported an 8% surge in infections in the last seven days, led by Gurugram and Faridabad. Both districts fall in the National Capital Region, where the renewed outbreak coincides with increasingly severe pollution levels.
Nationally, active cases—the number of patients still under treatment—saw a decline for the eighth straight week. But the improving national picture hides behind it aggravating outbreaks in some states ahead of Diwali and Christmas. For instance, Delhi and Haryana alone added 9,263 active cases, and 21% of all new confirmed cases, in the last seven days, data from the Union health ministry on Thursday showed.
While Delhi’s testing rate is the highest in the country, Haryana’s is on the lower side. With a growing number of virus tests turning positive, the state’s outbreak might worsen if testing is not ramped up soon.
Several weeks after Chhattisgarh’s massive outbreak slowed down, the state continues to report one of the highest death tolls in the country. More than 2,500 people have died of covid-19 in Chhattisgarh now, and the toll rose 14% in a week. This was the biggest spike in deaths among major states.
All calculations are based on seven-day rolling averages to minimize the effect of volatile and delayed reporting.
With this, India has 128,121 covid-related deaths as of Thursday. The pace of increase in deaths has slowed across most states.
Apart from Delhi and Haryana, the only other state to add more than 2,000 active cases in the past week was Himachal Pradesh. This also made it the only state with less than 80% recovery rate, or the share of patients who have been discharged.
Other states where infections have risen recently—Kerala and West Bengal—reported a sharp decline in active cases. This shows that even though the outbreak is still going strong in these two states, more and more patients have begun to recover, too.
District-wise data shows Kerala and Chhattisgarh continue to have some of the biggest hotspots in the country. Nine of the 14 districts in Kerala saw confirmed cases jump over 10% within a week, data from howindialives.com shows.
Among all 308 districts in India with over 5,000 confirmed cases so far, the worst spikes in the past week were reported by Hisar (15%) and Gurugram (14%) in Haryana, and Thrissur (15%) in Kerala. Deaths rose the most in Bilaspur (23%) and Janjgir-Champa (22%) in Chhattisgarh, and Thrissur (21%) in Kerala.
In the last fortnight, the positivity rate has increased in Delhi, Kerala, West Bengal, and Haryana, data from covid19india.org showed. High testing shows Delhi and Kerala are making efforts to find those who are infected, but an increase in positivity shows even that may not be enough.
Meanwhile, Pfizer announced the biggest update so far on a potential covid-19 vaccine. An experimental vaccine being developed by the pharma major was found to be more than 90% effective in trials. But the vaccine uses a novel synthetic mRNA technology, which needs storage at minus 70 degrees Celsius or below.
This will be a challenge for most developing countries, including India, experts believe.
India's total count of coronavirus patients has risen to 8,683,916 as of Thursday morning. The United States reported the biggest share (22%) of new coronavirus cases over the past week, followed by India (9%) and Brazil (4%). India’s share marks a significant improvement in the past two months: it was reporting nearly one-third of all the world’s daily cases in September.
Among new deaths reported in the past week, the US and India had a 14% and 8% share, respectively. The global coronavirus case count has now crossed 52 million, including 1.2 million deaths, data from Johns Hopkins University showed.
Ahead of Diwali, at least eight states and Union territories have announced restrictions on the sale and bursting of firecrackers. Pollution and the winter season are anyway said to raise the infection risk, and India would not want to add another festival to the list of adverse factors at play. With the national caseload improving consistently, the northern states have their task well cut out in the days to come.