The peak of the third wave of coronavius in the national capital is over but the wave is still present, said Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain. He added that with the end of festival season and significant reduction in pollution, the Covid-19 situation is likely to improve.
The minister also asserted that even when the RTPCR tests are doubled, and number of tests would be increased to one lakh or even two lakh, the positivity ratio would still come down. “Positivity ratio will come down, there are definite trends, all experts watch these trends, I also spoke to experts. A trend is visible and the trend shows that peak is over but wave is not over. Slowly, it (positivity ratio) will start coming down. It has started coming down from 15.33%. Now, even if you conduct one lakh, or even two lakh tests, the positivity ratio will only go down," Jain said.
Citing the latest data, which is yet to be made public, the minister said that yesterday (November 16), more than 50,000 tests have been conducted and positivity ratio is less than 13%. The Delhi government would be releasing the data later in the day.
The health minister said that when the positivity ratio had shot beyond 15%, experts had estimated that it would go up to 20% but that has not happened. “I want to make one thing clear that number of positives is not as important as positivity ratio. Just a week ago, positivity ratio had shot up beyond 15%. It was 15.33% if I am correct. It had taken a maximum of 10 days for the positivity ratio to reach 15% from 10%. Then, it appeared that positivity ratio would touch 20%. In June, positivity ratio was between 37% to 40%, experts were saying that in Delhi, positivity ratio would touch 20% to 25%. It is a matter of satisfaction that in the past one week, positivity ratio has declined from 15.33% to below 13%. So we can definitely say that when positivity ratio is less than 13%, it is not going up. Now, the downward trend will begin. We are definitely still within the third wave, the peak of the third wave is over. Now, slowly, it will start coming down."
Noting that the festival season is nearly over in Delhi, and there has been a significant difference in pollution in the capital, Jain asserted that this, too, will have an impact on the Covid situation, here in the national capital. “It is a matter of satisfaction that all festivals are almost over in Delhi. Yesterday, it was bhaiya dooj. There were many festivals happening together — Diwali, Govardhan Puja and before that Dussehra — but all the festivals are over now. There has been a marked difference in pollution levels. I believe, this will have its impact," the health Minister said.
Satyendra Jain also countered the allegation that the number of positive cases in Delhi have gone down over the past two days because the numbers of tests have also gone down sharply. The minister said, “If the allegation is that Delhi is testing fewer numbers, tell us also the number of tests being done in other states. In Delhi, 2,88, 000 tests have been done which means 29% of the population have already been tested. No other state is testing even half as many as Delhi. We are testing three times, four times, five times more. So, to allege that Delhi is testing less is very wrong. We are testing 50,000 to 60,000 people every day."
Addressing the issue of availability of beds in government and private hospitals for the treatment of the Covid positive, Jain said that it was an issue but in private hospitals.
In government hospitals, he said, 8,000 beds were still available. “In private hospitals, occupancy has increased. There are two reasons for this. First is when people from outside are coming to Delhi, most of them prefer private hospitals, taking some reference. Affluent class is coming more. Secondly, in Delhi, the middle class and the upper middle class all have medical insurance and many prefer to go to private hospitals. This is why, there is an issue when it comes to private hospitals. This is why we had met Union Home Minister and had requested him to provide 750 to 1,000 ICU beds which they have agreed to. I had made the same request to Dr Harsh Vardhan fifteen days ago, that ICU beds may be increased. Day before yesterday, the central government agreed to this."
The health minister also noted that about 25% to 30% of patients, who are being treated in private hospitals, are from outside Delhi and are serious patients.
Jain said, “There are two categories - one who give the addresses of their relatives who are residing in Delhi, and such numbers are huge. Jain cited the case of his own relative who stays in Bharodh, where testing facility is not available and got tested in Delhi after showing a Delhi address. After two days, the same relative got admitted in Delhi after providing a Delhi address. We can’t refuse anyone for tests or treatment. Patients who are coming from outside are serious patients and their numbers are significantly high. When asked for a rough estimate of numbers of such patients, Jain said, it could be between 25% to 30%.
Delhi has reported 90+ deaths for the past four consecutive days and 104 deaths on the 12th. Questioned on the climbing mortality rate Jain asserted that it was close to the national average. “In Delhi, the overall death ratio is 1. 58% which is close to the national average. The national average is 1.48% while that of Delhi is 1.58%. At one point in time, Delhi’s death ratio used to be 3.5% to 4%. It is unfortunate, even if there is one death, it is not alright. However, when compared to the national average, the death ratio in the past ten days is less than 1.5%. It has been between 1% to 1.5%. So you can’t say that the death ratio is very high." The higher number of deaths, Jain said, is because of the higher number of patients admitted into various hospitals,’ when the number of patients have increased, in hospitals. Now there are approximately 9,000 patients, so when more people are ill, it is natural. However, the death ratio is hovering around 1% to 1.5%," he said.