Covid infections spike again, hospitalisation rate still low

With 3,718 new cases of Covid-19 reported across India on Thursday, according to HT’s dashboard, a brief uptick fuelled by pockets of outbreak in the country’s large urban centres continued to expand slowly.

Two states – Kerala and Maharashtra – were the largest contributors to the national tally, together accounting for more than 62% of all new cases in the day.

With 1,278 new infections on Thursday, Kerala contributed the most cases to the national tally in the day. Maharashtra, India’s worst-hit state, saw 1,045 new infections with Mumbai alone accounting for 704 of the cases, data furnished by the states showed.

Experts have repeatedly stressed said that with the advent of widespread vaccination in the country, while new surges may crop up in some pockets from time-to-time, as long as hospitalisations and fatalities from the disease remain low, there is no immediate cause for concern as the new variants of the virus are largely asymptomatic or mild, with only small fraction resulting in deaths across the world.

The biggest contributor to the national tally, appears to be a handful of large metropolitan cities such as Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi.

The seven-day average of daily infections in Mumbai has now climbed to more than 400 cases a day for the past week. Just two weeks ago, this number was 143 — marking an increase of nearly 200%. The seven-day average of daily cases in the city has jumped from 21 average infections a day to 39 average infections a day in the past two weeks – an increase in case curve of 89% in the time period (although the absolute number is still small).

Delhi, meanwhile, saw a brief uptick in cases through May, but is currently seeing infections statistics decline in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, with the administration of more than a million (1,022,786) shots of the Covid-19 vaccine through Thursday, the total number of doses administered across the country is inching close to 1.94 billion (1,938,188,024 shots have been administered till date).

A recent analysis by HT had shown that it has been nearly two months since the government allowed all adults to take a booster jab of a Covid-19 vaccine, but the challenge of shortfall in booster turnout is only getting worse by the day. The third dose is important because immunity from the two doses wanes after a while.

According to data furnished by the Union health ministry, till Thursday evening, of the 155 million adults eligible for the third shot of the vaccine (this cohort of people had received their second shots 39 weeks prior), only 36 million had been boosted. As things stand, a whopping 119 million people (or nearly 77% of those eligible for their third vaccine dose) have stayed away from vaccination centres.

As things stand on Wednesday, only 0.42% of Mumbai’s 24,473 hospital beds earmarked for Covid patients are occupied. Not a single Covid patient is currently hospitalised in Chennai and Bengaluru, according to data from their respective administrations.

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