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As average daily Covid-19 cases come down, experts say Delhi may go past peak in August

With a drop in average fresh cases reported per day in Delhi over the past one week, experts have claimed that the city may go past the Covid-19 peak in early August.

However, they cautioned that before making any conclusion, the trend of cases should be watched over the next week or so.

Besides, the experts have warned that if social distancing and hygiene norms prescribed by authorities are not adhered to by people, then there could be a surge again.

On June 23, the national capital had reported the highest single-day spike of 3,947 cases.

The city continued to see over 3,000 cases per day till June 26, when it reported 3,460 infections.

From June 27 to July 3, the average fresh cases per day stands at about 2,494 compared to 3,446 cases per day the previous week.

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said, “If the number of cases in Delhi continues to be static or decreases over the next few weeks, and the decline is at a sustained pace, then we can say that we may pass the peak in August.”

But that can only happen if people continue to maintain social distancing and take prescribed precautions and there is a strict implementation of containment measures even as the lockdown gets lifted.

“In some cities there was a decline in trend, but once the lockdown was lifted people did not follow the dos and dont’s and this led to a surge in cases. So, there is no space for complacency, a lapse on someone’s part somewhere and that could lead to a spike,” he said.

Delhi recorded 2,505 fresh coronavirus cases on Friday, taking the tally in the city to over 97,000, while the death toll from the disease mounted to 3,004, authorities said.

However, in the last few days, the number of fresh cases have oscillated, not showing a particular trend in figures.

The number of cases reported from June 27-July 3 are – June 27 (2,948), June 28 (2,889), June 29 (2,084), June 30 (2,199) and July 1 (2,442), July 2 (2,373) with a steady rise in death figures.

Mahesh Verma, head of a Delhi government committee tasked with strengthening the preparedness of hospitals to battle the outbreak, said, “I think what we seeing in terms of cases in the last one week, is a very positive trend. Things seem to be looking up.”

“We would perhaps need a fresh forecasting, and hopefully we would not need as many beds as earlier projected,” he said.

“If things look brighter from here on and the consistent trend we seeing here continues we might see flattening of the curve in August,” he added.

Verma on Wednesday had said that the Covid-19 tally in the city may not reach the estimated number of 5.5 lakh cases by July end but one needs to see how the virus behaves during the monsoon.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said, the recovery rate in the city had crossed 70 per cent, while his deputy Manish Sisodia tweeted that the positivity rate has “dipped to 10.58 per cent from 36.94 per cent earlier”.

Noted lung surgeon Dr Arvind Kumar, concurred that average fresh cases reported per day and the positivity rate had come down.

“However, I would like to sound a note of caution here. The trend needs to be watched for the next 7-10 days. It is too early to make any conclusion about whether the city will go past the peak in August,” he told PTI.

Dr Vikas Maurya, Director & Head, Department of Pulmonology & Sleep Disorders, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, here also said, cases in Delhi haven’t risen as projected earlier, so there is a chance it will soon be past the peak, say in August.

“But, again, it’s a novel virus, and we don’t know its behaviour. So, we don’t know how it will behave. Anyway, a pandemic lasts for a year or so, therefore as a society we must be prepared,” he said.

Maurya, however, warned that the city could see a “second wave of the viral attack” in August or September, given its fickle nature.

Various previous predictions on number of cases in Delhi and on peaking period have proven wrong, as the virus is novel, he said.

“Only thing we can do to continue, to ensure less cases occur, is by practising social distancing, adhering to hygiene and other norms prescribed by government authorities. Otherwise, all our gains will be lost, and we might see again a spike in cases,” Maurya said.

But, in the last one week, cases reported per day being lesser than the week before it, positivity rate coming down and beds being empty in various hospitals, indicates flattening of the curve, he argued.

According to the Saturday health bulletin, 68,256 patients have recovered, been discharged or migrated so far, while number of active cases stood at 25,940, while 6,20,368 tests have been conducted.

The number of containment zones in the city on Saturday stood at 448.

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