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NEW DELHI : The third wave of covid-19 in Delhi is worse than the first two instances of a major spike in cases in June and September, Balram Bhargava, director general, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said on Tuesday. High pollution levels, dipping temperature, festive crowds and the wedding season, besides increased interstate movement from and to Delhi-NCR, were leading factors triggering the surge in cases, he added.

Pan-India, 38,073 covid-19 cases were reported in the past 24 hours, with six states and Union territories accounting for 54% of the new cases. Delhi reported the highest number of 5,023 cases, followed by West Bengal and Kerala with 3,907 and 3,593 cases, respectively. Maharashtra reported 3,277 cases, Haryana 2,427 and Tamil Nadu 2,257 new cases.

India’s covid count reached 8,605,930, including 127,912 deaths. The active caseload shrunk to 505,265, or 5.88% of the total cases on Tuesday, the government said.

At least 448 covid fatalities were reported in the past 24 hours, with six states—Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Punjab—contributing 62% of the deaths. Maharashtra saw 85 deaths in the past 24 hours.

“India still figures among the countries having lowest cases per million population. While the world average of cases per million is 6,439, India has 6,225 cases per million. While the world recorded 482 new cases per million population in the last seven days, it was at 235 for India," said Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan in a press briefing.

“Similarly, while there were seven deaths per million population in the whole world last week, India saw three deaths per million population. India still has one of the lowest count of 92 deaths per million population, while the world average is 160 deaths per million population. This apart, the number of active cases has gone below 6% in the country, while the recovery rate is over 92%," he said, adding that the cumulative positivity rate, which is on a decline, now stands at 7.18%, while the daily positivity rate in the past week was at 4.2%.

The government said central teams have visited all states, including Bihar. The report by the teams on the practice of covid-appropriate behaviour was shared with state governments to draw their attention for follow-up actions. “The states did initiate action to rectify the defects, and the health ministry is keeping a watch on the development of the covid situation in various states," he added.

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