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Omicron-led third Covid wave; over 20,000 cases reported in Delhi and Mumbai

The number of daily new Covid-19 cases in the country has risen sharply again, and has now surpassed 1,00,000 for two days in a row, with the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) driving the surge in many states leading the third covid wave.

The Delta variant was driving the surge until a few days ago, according to news agency PTI, citing official sources. While the variant was only prevalent in the western regions of the country, it was the Delta variant that was driving the surge in the northeastern parts of the country, including states like West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha. According to recent data, there may be an increase in Omicron cases across the country.

Delhi’s Cases

On Saturday, 20,181 people in the national capital tested positive for the disease, with a daily positivity rate of 19.60 percent. To stem the spread of the virus, the national capital has implemented night and weekend curfews.

There are currently 48,178 active cases in Delhi. The city had only 386 active cases a month ago, on December 9, 2021.

So far, Delhi has identified 513 cases of the Omicron variant, with only 57 patients surviving. Despite the high daily caseload, hospitalizations have been relatively low. According to a health department bulletin issued on Saturday, nearly 89 percent of beds in dedicated Covid hospitals across the city were vacant. While dedicated Covid Care Centres (CCC) had 87 percent of beds unoccupied, dedicated Covid Health Centers (CHC) had 85 percent.

If the daily positivity rate remains around the alarming 20% mark, more restrictions in the city are highly likely in the coming days.

Maharashtra

For the past three days, the daily caseload in Mumbai, Maharashtra’s capital, has been over 20,000. On Saturday, the city recorded 20,318 cases, 20,971 cases on Friday, and 20,181 cases on Thursday.

Meanwhile, in the last 24 hours, 41,434 new infections have been reported across the state. With the high daily caseload continuing unabated in recent days, the state has opted for more restrictive measures to halt the virus’s spread.

Schools, colleges, gyms, and pools have all been closed. People can move between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m., but not in groups of more than five, and only essential movement is permitted at night.

Wedding and funeral attendance limits have been set at 50 and 20, respectively. Commercial establishments in the state have been given limits on seating capacity and operating hours. All domestic travel will be permitted only if all vaccinations have been completed and vaccine certificates have been obtained.

The third wave is expected to peak in the first half of February.

The Union health ministry announced earlier this week that the country has seen an exponential increase in Covid-19 cases, owing largely to the Omicron variant.

According to a PTI report, the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, has estimated that the third wave of infections will peak between February 1 and 15.

According to the institute’s preliminary analysis, the R-naught (R0) value, which indicates how many people an infected person can infect, was close to four for the period between January 1 and 6. This indicates that the disease is widely spread.

“What we expect from the exploratory data analysis is that the peak will happen somewhere between February 1-15, and our analysis also shows that there will be a sharper increase to the peak compared to previous waves,” Jayant Jha, assistant professor at IIT Madras’ department of mathematics, told PTI.

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