Omicron now driving 3rd Covid wave in country; Delhi, Mumbai see over 20,000 cases

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The number of daily new Covid-19 cases in the country has once again been increasing sharply and has remained above the 1,00,000-mark for two consecutive days with the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) now driving the surge across many states.

While the variant was only predominant in the western regions of the country, in the northeastern parts, and states like West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, it was the Delta variant which was driving the surge until a few days ago, news agency PTI reported citing official sources. Latest data suggested that a surge in Omicron cases could be seen across the country.

Cases in Delhi

In the national capital, 20,181 people tested positive for the disease on Saturday, with the daily positivity rate being recorded at 19.60 per cent. The national capital has night and weekend curfews in place to contain the spread of the virus.

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

Delhi has, so far, identified 513 cases of the Omicron variant and only 57 patients have recovered. However, hospitalisations have been considerably low despite the high daily caseload. A bulletin from the health department on Saturday showed that close to 89 per cent beds were vacant in dedicated Covid hospitals across the city. While 87 per cent beds were not occupied in dedicated Covid Care Centres (CCC), in dedicated Covid health centres (CHC) it was 85 per cent.

More restrictions are highly likely in the city in the coming days if the daily positivity rate remains around the alarming 20 per cent-mark.

Also read | ‘Great going’: Mandaviya says over 2 crore in 15-18 age group jabbed against Covid-19 in less than a week

Maharashtra

Maharashtra capital Mumbai is another city where the daily caseload has been over 20,000 for the past three days. The city logged 20,318 cases on Saturday, 20,971 cases on Friday and 20,181 cases on Thursday.

Meanwhile, 41,434 more infections were reported from across the state in the last 24 hours. With no respite in the high daily caseload since the past few days, the state has opted for more restrictive measures to check the transmission of the virus.

Schools, colleges, gyms and swimming pools have been shuttered. Movement of people has been allowed between 5am and 11pm but not in groups of more than five and in the nights only essential movement is allowed.

Maximum attendance at weddings and funerals has been capped at 50 and 20, respectively. Limits on seating capacity and operational timings have been imposed on commercial establishments in the state. All domestic travel to be allowed conditional on full vaccination and possession of vaccine certificates.

Also read | Omicron: EC bans political rallies; night curfew back in Maharashtra

Third wave to peak in February first half

Earlier this week, the Union health ministry said that the country has been recording an exponential rise in Covid-19 cases, largely due to the Omicron variant. 

Amid this, the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, has estimated that the third wave of infections might reach its peak between February 1 and 15, according to a PTI report.

A preliminary analysis by the institute showed that the R-naught (R0) value, denoting the number of people an infected person can spread the disease to, was recorded close to four for the period between January 1 and 6. This indicates high transmission of the disease.

“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 as compared to previous waves, there will be a sharper increase to the peak,” Jayant Jha, assistant professor at the department of mathematics in IIT Madras told PTI.

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