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Even amid rising cases of Covid-19 in national capital Delhi and it neighbouring regions, scientists have said that the sudden surge in cases is not indicative of a fourth wave in the city. 

The scientists have said that one needs to consider the hospital admissions which have only changed marginally thereby eliminating any cause of concern or panic till now. 

"It has been more than two weeks since all Covid-19 restrictions have been removed. It is a holiday period and people are meeting and intermingling. This is also reflected in social mobility and economic activity, which are higher than pre-pandemic periods," physician-epidemiologist Chandrakant Lahariya told PTI while also advising caution and stressing on continued surveillance.

"Merely counting cases has no meaning... though cases are rising in Delhi, hospital admission remains unchanged or marginally changed," he said.

"SARS CoV-2 is going to stay with us for a long time and therefore, there is not going to be any period when the new cases would be zero," he said.

Delhi's Covid-19 positivity rate on Monday jumped to 7.72% with 501 fresh cases, according to health department data. The last time the positivity rate was above seven per cent in the city was on January 29 (7.4%) and on January 28 (8.6%), officials said.

This is in sharp contrast to India's overall positivity rate of 0.31% recorded by the Union health ministry on Tuesday when 1,247 coronavirus infections were reported.

US-based Infectious disease expert Amita Gupta noted that the rise in cases in Delhi and some other states may be a result of looser restrictions, pandemic fatigue, and higher transmissibility of the virus.

"We anticipate this will not result in a major increase in severe cases requiring hospitalisation as this is not what we are seeing elsewhere despite the increased transmissibility," Gupta, chief of the division of infectious disease and professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, told PTI.

"It really helps that India has done an incredible job in vaccinating its population and now it is important to continue to do this and to administer the booster shots to those who are eligible," she added.

"The BA.2 subvariant of Omicron appears to be more able to evade immunity to cause infections but is also less lethal possibly because of existing immunity from prior infection and vaccination," he said.

Scientists also cautioned against complacency.

"We should continue close surveillance for early detection of Covid cases through existing surveillance networks in the country and be prepared to trigger recommendations to resume masking, social distancing if and when surges occur," a health expert said..

The use of masks by people in Delhi has considerably reduced after a fine of 500 was withdrawn by the officials earlier this month. Experts are divided over whether this was ideal in view of the rising number of infections.

Agrawal noted that bringing back mask mandates would be a good step, but the data right now is insufficient to make any predictions about the future trajectory of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

"The BA.2 and XE sublineages are now global and we are likely to see greater global convergence in Covid patterns since transmission will be easier between countries," Laxminarayan explained.

In recent weeks there has been a rise in Covid cases in many countries, including the US, driven by the BA.2 subvariant of coronavirus, but the hospitalisation rate has been low.

Besides Delhi, other places have also seen their Covid graph rise. On April 18, Kerala reported a five day rise of 940 new cases.

The number of Covid positive cases in Haryana rose from 514 between April 5-11 to 1,119 between April 12-18, with the highest number of cases being reported from Gurugram and Faridabad, both towns adjacent to Delhi.

Noida and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh witnessed an increase in the number of infections, from around 45 daily cases across the state at the beginning of the month to 135 cases on Monday.

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