On April 1, Delhi had reported 2,790 cases, nine deaths with a positivity rate of 3.37%. Delhi imposed a night curfew on April 6, a day after, the positivity rate crossed the 5%-mark. With the capital reporting 3,548 cases, 15 deaths and a positivity rate of 5.54% on April 5, the DDMA order imposing a night curfew was an ‘emergency measure for the well-being and safety of people in the capital.’
However, the imposition of the night curfew had little impact on Delhi’s positivity rate, breaching the 15%-mark on April 14 and then, the 20% on April 15. On that day, Delhi reported 16,699 cases, the per day casualties breached the 100-mark with 112 deaths and the positivity rate stood at 20.22%.
The government imposed a weekend curfew in addition to the night curfew allowing only essential services beginning 10 pm Friday till 5 am Monday.
Only three days later, on April 18, the capital reported a staggering 25,462 cases that were nearly three times its past peak of 8,593 cases on November 11, 2020, 161 casualties with the positivity rate at 29.74%.
It was on April 18 that the Delhi Chief Minister first tweeted on the ‘oxygen emergency in the national capital’. The following day, on April 19, the CM along with the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Anil Baijal, decided to extend the weekend curfew to weekdays also. The Delhi CM termed the shutdown, initially imposed for a week, as a ‘mini lockdown’. The capital went in for a lockdown from 10 pm on April 19 till 5 am on April 26.
The DDMA order on April 19 noted the ‘sharp increase in Covid-19 cases along with a very high positivity rate over the last few days’. Essential services were allowed, interstate travel was still allowed, the DTC and Delhi Metro continued to ply with restrictions. However, several fresh cases, positivity rate and casualties continued to surge unabated from April 20 till April 26.
Delhi reported its highest ever number of fresh cases on April 20, with 28,395 cases, casualties on that day stood at 277 and positivity rate at 32.82%. On April 26, which was the date for a possible end of the mini-lockdown, the capital recorded 20,201 fresh cases, 380 casualties and the positivity rate stood at a very alarming 35.02%.
It was the erratic and inadequate unavailability of oxygen in the national capital that has come to define this wave and made it far more lethal. For more than two straight weeks beginning mid-April, hospitals including top private hospitals like Sir Gangaram and the Delhi government’s GTB and RGSSH had to send SoSs for replenishments, citizens were left to lean on other citizens to source supplies to try and avert losing a life.
At a time when there was an urgent need to ramp up the number of oxygenated beds and ICU beds, hospitals, including government hospitals were forced to cut down on beds.
The lockdown had to be extended by another week and subsequently twice more. It would be May 2, that Delhi’s positivity rate was pushed to below 30%. The capital reported 20,394 fresh cases, a staggering 407 casualties and a positivity rate of 28.33%. And since then, the positivity rate has not only been below 30% but has also shown a consistent downward trend except on May 3, when it went up slightly to 29.56%. On this day, Delhi also reported its highest ever casualties so far with 448 deaths.
May 9 saw the lockdown being extended for the third time, with more restrictions. The Delhi Metro services were suspended and marriages in public places were not only banned but the numbers who could attend was brought down from 50 to 20. Between May 3 and May 9, the positivity rate in the capital came down from 29.56% to 21.67% and on May 10, in the fourth week of the lockdown, it slipped below the 20%-mark.
On May 10, the capital recorded 12,651 cases, 319 deaths, and a positivity rate of 19.10%. The following day, on May 11, the downward trend in terms of fresh cases and positivity rate continued with the capital reporting 12,481 cases, a positivity rate of 17.76%. However, fatalities continue to be high, with 347 deaths being reported on May 11 compared to 319 the day before.
The Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, said “In Delhi, the Corona cases are going down, the second wave of Corona is showing signs of weakening. It is with the cooperation of the people that the lockdown has been successful.”
There seems to be a growing consensus that the peak of this lethal Covid wave in Delhi could be over. Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said, “We have already seen cases peak in Delhi”, however, the health minister said that the wave is still on and Delhi cannot afford to let its guard down until the capital pushes down the number of fresh cases below the 4,000 mark.