‘Lowering guard, new sub-variants could be behind Delhi surge’, Health News, ET HealthWorld

'Lowering guard, new sub-variants could be behind Delhi surge'The recent rise in fresh Covid-19 cases in Delhi-NCR could be due to possible circulation of Omicron sub-variants, population density, international travel, and non-adherence to pandemic-appropriate behaviour, experts have said.

They said the situation is not alarming as test positivity rate stays below 5% in the capital but advised caution.

“At this moment, it’s not alarming but we have to be watchful,” said K Srinath Reddy, president of Public Health Foundation of India.

“When the previous virus is still around and new forms of variant are emerging and entering in a situation where people have discarded Covid-appropriate behaviour, the virus easily can get a chance for transmission,” he said. “Delhi has a high crowd density and is a high mobility city, which is another reason for the numbers to go up.”

Delhi reported 1,204 new cases in 24 hours on Tuesday while total tests conducted in the capital stood at 25,963. This reflects a test positivity rate (TPR) of 4.64%.

Total active cases in Delhi stood at 3,304 cases, out of which 114 are in hospitals. Four of them are on ventilators and 39 are on oxygen support. The capital reported one death on Tuesday.

Daily TPR of adjoining Haryana stood at 5.14% as the state reported 470 cases on Monday. The all India daily TPR stood at 0.55%.

Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, and West Bengal have all reported less than 1% TPR. Mumbai, which had seen lots of cases in the first three waves, has so far managed to keep the cases under control. Mizoram and Kerala are seeing uptick in cases.

The pandemic is said to be under control when the daily positivity rate doesn’t exceed 5%.

Two sub-variants of Omicron – BA.1 and BA.2 – have emerged as dominant strains in India. The BA.2 and its sub-lineage BA.2.12.1 together have been responsible for the surge in the capital, experts told ET.

The same sub-lineage is responsible for an upsurge in the US, too, they added.

Shahid Jameel, one of the leading virologists in the country, said it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reason why Delhi is seeing more cases compared to other cities.

“There could be several reasons (for high cases in Delhi)…more RT-PCR testing, densely populated so more chances of transmission, connectivity – both national and international making inflow of virus better, and more aggressive daredevil attitude,” Jameel said.

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