- In Delhi, the daily rate of growth in COVID-19 cases has come down to 1%
- In the last 30 days, Coronavirus death rate has fallen from 3.56% to 2.94%
- Delhi has a high COVID-19 test positivity rate of 12.9 per cent
New Delhi: “Certainly, there are improvements in the recovery rates, testing numbers, and case positivity rates, but the mood should be of cautious optimism”, said Dr Vikas Choudhry, Vice President, Public Health Practice, Sambodhi Research and Communications when asked about Delhi’s incremental Coronavirus recovery rate. According to AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria, the national capital Delhi seems to have hit COVID-19 peak and is now witnessing a decline in daily fresh cases. The daily rate of growth has come down from 4.9 per cent (June 23) to 1 per cent now. In the last 30 days, the death rate has fallen from 3.56 per cent to 2.94 per cent. Lately, Delhi is being praised for turning the tables and putting a tough fight against COVID-19. NDTV spoke to Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain to understand the steps taken by the state government and the way forward.
Detailing the reasons for the success of India’s capital, Mr Jain said the state government took numerous steps which are showing results now. He said,
At a very early stage, we started home isolation. Neither any other state nor the central government was ready for it. Home isolation was allowed for COVID-19 patients who were either asymptomatic or showing mild symptoms of the disease. We would regularly follow-up with COVID-19 patients in home isolation. Daily we would call them and ask for their symptoms. At home, if someone’s health deteriorated, we would shift them to a hospital. This built confidence among people. Secondly, we provide pulse oximeter to patients at home so that they can keep a check on their oxygen levels and visit a hospital as and when needed.
Mr Jain further informed that since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, Delhi has a policy of having hospital beds three times the number of patients hospitalised. When the capital had 2,000 patients in hospitals, the government increased the bed facility to 6,000.
Today, around 3,200 patients are hospitalised and we have over 15,000 beds in total. This means, 20 per cent of the beds are occupied. Along with this, we made a mobile application where the number of beds occupied and vacant is updated regularly. If someone needs a hospital bed, they can look out for the availability and decide which hospital to visit, he said.
Apart from this, the Delhi government claims to have maintained full transparency.
Every step, every decision in our fight against COVID-19 was conveyed to the citizens. We were open to criticism and worked towards fixing all the gaps highlighted, said Mr Jain.
Further talking about assessing the symptoms and how one should decide if they need to be hospitalised, Mr Jain said,
There are three broad categories of patients – asymptomatic/mild, moderate and severe cases. The severity of the disease can be assessed through respiratory rate and oxygen levels. An individual having a respiratory rate of more than 24 per minute and oxygen saturation levels less than 93 per cent is considered as moderately ill. A patient falls into a severe category when respiratory rate is 30 and above/minute and oxygen saturation level is less than 90.
Delhi has the highest testing rate of 44,686 tests per million population as opposed to the national average of 11,121 tests per million. However, Delhi has a high test positivity rate of 12.9 per cent (out of every 100 people tested, 12 are turning positive for COVID-19) compared to the national average of 8 per cent. According to the latest sero-survey, around 23 per cent of Delhi’s population has developed antibodies against the virus but over 77 per cent of the population is still vulnerable to contracting the disease. This means the threat is not over. Talking about what are the things Delhi still needs to worry about and focus over, Mr Jain said,
We have to see it like 23 per cent of the people were not just infected. They got infected and recovered which is a good thing. But yes, we need to take precautions because 75 per cent are still susceptible. Also, it’s a one month old survey (conducted from June 27 to July 10) so more people might have contracted the virus. According to the experts, we say a community has developed herd immunity when 40-60 per cent of the people are infected. Until then we need to be cautious which is why we are not letting our guards down. This infection has not gone away and the disease is still here.
On June 17, Mr Jain tested positive for Coronavirus and was admitted to Delhi’s Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital (RGSSH). Over the next two days, his condition deteriorated and he was shifted to a private facility in Delhi’s Saket – Max Hospital. Explaining why he was shifted, Mr Jain said,
I was advised plasma therapy and back then RGSSH didn’t have the permission to conduct convalescent plasma therapy. We were expecting to get permission in a couple of days and I was ready to wait but my family advised to undergo plasma therapy immediately.
Further sharing his experience of battling the contagious disease and if getting treatment was easy for him because he is a minister, Mr Jain said,
Till the time I was in the hospital, I never felt I was seriously ill. Doctors around me were scared, but I feel a strong will power works. I can assure you that every citizen will get the same medical treatment and care as I received.
Delhi might be showing signs of recovery, but we need to remember that the virus is still out there, strong and invisible.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.