In mid-last year, when Delhi was experiencing the first Covid-19 wave, deaths of patients taking place within 72 hours of hospitalisation was at one of the highest points. An official said, “The number of deaths within 72 hours of hospitalisation was 57.3% in June, 26.5% in October, 33.2% in November and 19.08% in December.”
In the first fortnight of November, the pandemic appeared to be raging aggressively when the city was reporting 7,000-8,000 cases daily. The number of infections was in line with the prediction made by the expert committee constituted by the central government, which had stated that weather change, onset of winter, festival-related gatherings and influx of patients from outside the capital would result in the numbers shooting up to 15,000 a day.
In early June, the overall daily Covid deaths were low, but rose to over 60 towards the second fortnight. On June 16, there were 93 Covid deaths reported in a day. The deaths were comparatively lower in July and August. Towards the end of September, the daily deaths started increasing slightly and in early November they rose again. On November 18, though there were 131 deaths reported in a day, the deaths within 72 hours of hospitalisation did not increase as much.
The decline in deaths was a result of multiple factors, including better clinical management of patients in hospitals and aggressive testing to ensure early detection, isolation and start of treatment.
Due to the revised testing strategy, the positivity rate of RT-PCR tests fell to 5.5% on December 19 compared with 22.3% in November. In all, 6,05,420 RT-PCR tests were conducted in November, while 6,98,884 tests were conducted till December 19. The overall positivity rate fell from 11.74% in November to 2.96% in December.
Back-to-back meetings were held by chief minister with chiefs of hospitals and experts to hammer out ways to bring down the number of deaths. In July, the CM constituted four committees of experts to inspect 11 private and government Covid-19 healthcare facilities and give hospital-wise recommendations on steps needed to reduce deaths, besides betterment of patients care services.
The experts observed that the percentage of deaths in the hospitals was on the higher side in the first three weeks of July. Live monitoring of patients admitted at Lok Nayak Hospital also contributed towards reducing deaths.