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Several researchers and health experts have raised concerns that India may witness a second wave of COVID-19 infection in winter. But Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain on Thursday suggested that the national capital might have already been hit by the second wave and could be battling the third-phase of Coronavirus infection.
However, he maintained that they will wait for another week to confirm on the same.
"It is too early to say that Delhi is experiencing the 3rd wave of COVID-19 cases. We must wait for another week in order to definitively say that, but it possible that we're already in that phase," ANI quoted Satyendar Jain as saying.
Given the exponential rise in Coronavirus cases in the past few days, his statement perhaps seems to be true. On Wednesday Delhi recorded 5,673 fresh COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day spike to date.
Jain attributed the surge in daily Covid-19 cases to the festive season and a change in the administration's contact tracing strategy. He noted that the government is strengthening the contact tracing system.
A report of the high-level expert committee led by NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul has warned that Delhi could see a spike of around 12,000 to 14,000 coronavirus cases daily during festivals and the winter season.
The report suggested that hospitals in Delhi should prepare for managing 15,000 Covid-19 cases in a single day during the winter months.
However, the Health Minister Jain said that the number is unlikely to touch the 15,000-mark and assured that Delhi is well-prepared for another surge in Covid-19 cases in the winter months.
Regarding the change in the contact tracing strategy, Jain said until last week, the government used to test contacts of Covid-19 positive persons only if they showed symptoms. From now, every person who came in close contact with the Covid-19 positive case will be tested, even if they are not showing symptoms. The aim is to test 5-6 contacts per Covid case to break the cycle of infection.
Also, contacts are being tested for a second time after four days or a week. This may be a reason why the positivity rate is also increasing in the city, he said while talking to reporters on Thursday.
Satyender Jain urged people to take strictly follow precautions, which include following social distancing norms and wearing masks, in the coming festival days.
Asked about the hospital arrangements, Jain said the Delhi administration is "well-prepared" for the coming days. According to him, more than 10,000 beds are vacant in the city hospitals for Covid patients.
Research also suggested that the novel coronavirus may survive longer in colder temperatures. For example, a study conducted jointly by researchers at IIT-Bhubaneswar and the AIIMS, predicted that the decrease in temperatures will increase the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Meanwhile, some experts have suggested that getting vaccinated against flu will help avert hospital crisis and also offer some protection against severe COVID-19 infection. But it is advisable to consult a doctor before you go for the shot.
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