NEW DELHI: Covid cases are rising exponentially with a highly infectious strain stalking the city. Lack of Covid-appropriate behaviour, with people not wearing masks and showing indifference to maintaining social distancing, has aggravated the situation.
In 24 hours, 17,282 more people have tested positive and 104 deaths have been reported. These positive cases were detected in 1.08 lakh tests — 73,915 RT-PCR and 34,619 rapid antigen — with the positivity rate at 15.92%, the highest ever in the state. Earlier, on November 15, the city had recorded a positivity rate of 15.33%.
“There are no ICU beds available in most big hospitals, both public and private. There is no sign of the outbreak ebbing either,” said a senior doctor at AIIMS, warning that if cases continue to grow at this speed, the capital’s health infrastructure may collapse.
Currently, Delhi has 50,736 active cases, of which 24,155 (50%) are under home isolation. The rest are admitted to hospitals or Covid Care Centres. According to real-time data on Covid beds, there are only 163 ventilator beds available across Delhi. The number of available ICU beds without a ventilator is 452. This includes the new beds added by the government over the past three days by turning some of its hospitals, like Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital, into a dedicated Covid facility.
“AIIMS Trauma Centre is running full. We have started a new ward in the burns ward and that too is almost full. We plan to add a few more beds,” Dr Rajesh Malhotra, chief of the centre said. He added that many young patients aged 45 years or less were getting admitted with severe symptoms.
Safdarjung Hospital has run out of ventilator beds. Among private hospitals, Sir Ganga Ram, VIMHANS, Holy Family, Batra and Manipal have no ventilator beds available anymore. “My sister is experiencing respiratory distress due to Covid-19 but there aren’t any beds available. We are trying to use an oxygen cylinder at home,” Rajeev Dutta, a resident of Dwarka, said.
Many families also complained about unavailability of anti-viral drug Remdesivir. The Centre has clarified that it was not advised for patients under home isolation. “People aren’t getting beds in hospitals. That’s why even those with moderate to severe symptoms are being managed at home through tele and video consultation. There should be some mechanism to avail the necessary medications for such patients,” said a doctor.
At 7.67 lakh, Delhi has the sixth highest number of Covid cases in the country. With 11,540 deaths, Delhi’s toll is the fourth highest in the country. Maharashtra has reported the maximum of 58,804 deaths.