Delhi COVID-19 Third Wave: Capital Struggles With Protest, Pollution Amid Pandemic

The Delhi High Court asks the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to immediately implement measures for containment of COVID-19, indicating the surge is at an alarming rate. Court further questions the motive of state government’s implementation of night curfew in entire Capital or some parts of it, considering deadly third wave.

The court wants a detailed report on the measures by December 3. Indian Capital on Thursday registered 5,475 new coronaviruses with a rise of 99 deaths in the last 24 hours. The daily fatality rate has been below 100 mark for five consecutive days. However, health experts indicate that the third wave is more deadly with Delhi witnessing 2,364 deaths in just a month.

Amidst the Delhi COVID-19 surge, thousands of farmers from Haryana are marching towards the Capital in protest against the farm laws causing another hurdle Infront the state government.

On Tuesday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “The high severity of the third wave is due to many factors. Pollution is an important factor” as stubble-burning season is here.

Health experts predict that the third wave is likely to last a few more weeks. Although the last week offered some signs of a slowdown in new COVID cases in Delhi compared to the previous five weeks, the resurgence cannot be said to be over yet, according to doctors.

Keeping in light the increase in cases, Delhi HC is hearing the plea seeking to increase the COVID-19 testing facilities in the state. There have been a few restrictions imposed, and decision for a lockdown is yet to be taken. There is, however, no sign as to when the COVID curve will flatten.

Delhi COVID-19 numbers are worrisome:

From November 1 to 16, Delhi recorded over one lakh new cases and nearly 1,200 deaths, and almost 94,000 COVID- 19 patients recovered during the time. The highest single-day spike was recorded on November 11 with 8,593 new cases. On November 12, the daily death toll was all-time high at 108. According to the health department, November recorded 1,01,070 coronavirus cases so far, and 93,885 patients have recovered since the beginning of this month.

Causes of third wave in Capital:

Although the Coronavirus cases and death rates had reduced since September nationwide, the Delhi COVID-19 situation is very different. Since mid-May, Delhi had begun to lift the restrictions gradually and reopened the markets and public transportation. Nearly 20 million people celebrated Diwali in the city, marking a comeback of daily life on track without precaution.

As Delhi COVID-19 is going through the third wave, in a live broadcast, CM Kejriwal requested everyone to wear masks and adhere to social distancing as there was a warning of the cases to increase.

Pollution hits severe zones:

New Delhi’s low air quality seems to have added to the spread of the virus. The city has a history of pollution, and doctors have warned weakening of the inner lining of the lungs, which will help the COVID-19 to spread.

Past few weeks recorded Delhi’s air quality index between 12 to 14, which is beyond the safety level of WHO. Delhi’s pollution levels have worsened over the months as coolers temperatures have set in. The stubble-burning in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana and a decreased wind speed has also added to the pollution levels in the state and turned it into a gas chamber.

According to Health Minister Satyendra Jain, the peak of Delhi’s COVID-19 third wave has passed. He says that the first wave was in June and the second wave was in September. He added that with the increase in the positivity rate, Delhi had entered the third wave of the COVID- 19 pandemic.

Presently, positive rate sees a downfall to 8.5 per cent.

Measures Taken by Delhi Government:

Considering the current COVID-19 situation, the Delhi Government has increased the penalty for not wearing masks from Rs 500 to Rs 2000. The number of guests allowed at wedding events has reduced to 50.

Mr Kejriwal mentions that lockdown is not the ultimate solution because it just delays the spread of the virus. Private hospitals have also been directed to increase the percentage of non- ICU beds from 50 per cent to 60 per cent. Arrangements are also being made for 1,400 ICU beds, including 663 in Delhi government hospitals and 750 in the central government facility.

Hospitals have also been asked to postpone the non-critical planned surgeries, for the time being, he added. The government said that there would be an increase in the number of RT- PCR tests to 27,000 a day and MBBS students and interns will engage in tackling the COVID- 19 situations.

Centre’ assistance:

Since November, Home Ministry has sent a large number of doctors, paramedics, health experts, equipment, ICU beds, testing facilities to Delhi government. Regular Meetings have been conducted and coordinated between Delhi CM and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.

The Union health ministry on November 19, told that Delhi accounted for 22.39 per cent of the fatalities reported across the country in 24 hours, making it the largest contributor of single day COVID- 19 deaths in India. Even in terms of new available day cases, Delhi has reported the highest number, followed by Kerala and Maharashtra.

According to Mr Kejriwal, he received assurance for cooperation from various political parties at an all-party meeting, on the present situation of Delhi. He also praised the doctors and the government employees for their COVID- 19 management in Delhi.

India has been amongst the worst-hit countries during the pandemic, but significant younger population and higher recovery rate, have reduced worst of worst situation. Delhi aches in triple burden from rising protests, deadly COVID-19 and severe pollution. As directed by the High court, the AAP government needs to act faster before the Delhi COVID-19 situation worsens.

Krithika Ravi Iyer

I am an aspiring journalist who is very enthusiastic and assure to do my require job responsibly. I have a creative side to me as well and would do any task assigned to me with utmost sincerity. I like reading, listening to music and have started exploring art. Writing poems is something I do to pen down my thoughts as well.

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