In Charts: Delhi Positivity Rate Below 20, Still a Long Way to Go

According to WHO, positivity rate below 5 % indicates the infection is getting under control.

2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Delhi's Positivity Rate: A decline in positivity rate is a positive indication, but there is a while to go.&nbsp;</p></div>

For the first time in nearly a month, the city of Delhi, ravaged by its 4th COVID wave, saw clear signs of a slowdown in the surge. The city's positivity rate, (the percentage of all tests performed that are positive) dipped below 20%. On 10 May, the city reported 12651 new cases, 319 deaths. The number of samples tested was 66234, and the positivity rate was 19.10%. It's still a long way to go in terms of actual recovery.

The test positivity rate is a critical measure. It helps experts understand the spread of the infection and whether actual number of tests are keeping up with levels of disease transmission, according to Johns Hopkins University.

A high rate indicates the spread of transmission is high and tests are not keeping up with the spread.

According to the World Health Organisation, positivity rate below 5 % indicates the infection is getting under control. And if it consistently remains below 5 %, a city may consider easing restrictions.


A Chart Showing Delhi's Fall in Positivity Rate from 26 April to 10 May

Number of Tests Versus Cases

Delhi's largely consistently tested between 70-80,000 samples, a mix of RTPCR and antigen tests, with a dip of nearly 10,000 during weekends. RTPCR have a high accuracy rate and make up the bulk of the tests carried out in the city. Keeping in mind the overburdening of labs with increasing testing demand, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on 5 May revived the testing guidelines. Now, secondary tests to check for negative infection are no longer required. Testing labs continue to be burdened and most Delhiites find it difficult to book slots at home for testing.

After the peak of 20 April, when over 28,000 people tested positive, the numbers have slowly and steadily fallen, with Delhi recording 12,600 new cases on 10 May. In the last 5 days, Delhi has recorded less than 20,000 cases daily.

Deaths Remain High

Even as the government has increased oxygen bed capacity after weeks of delay, ICU beds remain occupied. As experts have consistently pointed out, today's deaths are cases from atleast 3-4 weeks ago. The burden on the ICUs across Delhi will take time to ease. And unfortunately, it will be a while before deaths come down.

The positivity rate offers a glimmer of hope amid despair, and lockdowns imposed in the city since last three weeks have helped. The latest lockdown has been extended till 17 May. It may help ease the burden on the stretched and exhausted hospitals.

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