19% of residents of Delhi-NCR say they now have 1 or more individuals in their close local social network who had COVID in the last 15 days
- ● TPR has risen from 0.7% to 5.33% in last 2 weeks showing an over 500% increase in prevalence
April 18, 2022, New Delhi: Residents of Delhi-NCR have been moving freely since early March with all public places opening up, employees back to office, children back to school and flights landing from various international destinations. People have also started socialising extensively among friends, families at home and outdoors. Effective April 1st, against collective public pulse, Delhi Government also removed the mask mandate.
On April 2nd, Delhi recorded a test positivity rate (TPR) of 0.7% and 114 cases. With most people opting for at home Rapid Antigen Tests, though the daily reported case numbers are understated, the TPR is a good indicator of the prevalence. This TPR in Delhi alone has jumped from 0.7% on April 2nd to 5.33% on April 16th (461 cases)marking a 650% increase in TPR and indicating that COVID is back in Delhi and spreading rapidly. Over 100+ school children have been infected including those in Gurugram, Noida and Ghaziabad along with Delhi and several classes and schools have been shut due to rising cases. The Delhi Government has urged school authorities to temporarily close a specific wing in schools or classrooms where a COVID-19 case has been detected instead of shutting down the entire school. The Government has also started to urge parents vis-à-vis citizens to keep their guard up--wear a mask, follow social distance protocol and, especially maintain good sanitation and hygiene practice.
Notably, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised an alarm regarding rising COVID cases globally despite testing levels dropping significantly. Many countries in Europe like France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands and those in Asia like Hong Kong, Vietnam and China have recently experienced or are experiencing a huge surge in cases. The surges around the world are being driven by BA.2 variants, its sub-lineages like BA.2.2, the Omicron XE mutant, which is a BA.1 and BA.2 recombinant. More transmissible and severe cases of COVID-19 the world over are being studied by scientists. This week, the WHO added BA.4 and BA.5 variants of Omicron to its monitoring list. Scientists have reported that BA.4 has a 63% growth advantage over BA.5 and 84% growth advantage over BA.2. Both BA.4 and BA.5 have the L452R pathogenic mutation, which is also found in the Delta variant. Concerns arise if these sub-variants turn out to be both highly transmissible and severe. Here at home, India has reported cases of BA.2+S:I1221T or the BA.2.2 sub-lineage of Omicron as well as nearly 600 cases of Deltacron, a combination of Delta and Omicron variant.
Taking cognisance of the rise of TPR in Delhi-NCR and discussions amongst residents of Delhi-NCR, LocalCircles has gone to them to better understand the prevalence of COVID in their local Delhi-NCR social networks. The survey received inputs from 11,743 citizens located in all districts of Delhi and NCR where 67% of the respondents were men and 33% were women. The survey asked respondents about the number of individuals including children in their close local social network who had COVID in the last 15 days.
19% residents of Delhi-NCR say they have 1 or more individuals in their close social network who has had COVID in the last 15 days
The survey asked residents of Delhi, “How many individuals (including children) do you have in your close social network (family, friends, neighbours, colleagues) in Delhi-NCR that have had COVID in the last 15 days?” In response, the majority, 70% of Delhi residents said “No one in the last 15 days”. Breaking down the poll, 11% said “1 or 2”, and 8% said “3-5”. 11% couldn’t say. The findings indicate that 19% of residents of Delhi-NCR say they have 1 or more individuals in their close social network who has had COVID in the last 15 days. This question in the survey received 11,743 responses.
A similar question asked on April 2nd, earlier this month had found that only 3% residents had someone in their close social network who had COVID in the last 15 days. The COVID network prevalence has risen to 19% marking an over 500% increase in the last 15 days. This also corresponds to the 650% increase in TPR during this period.
The need of the hour is for Delhi and NCR authorities to monitor the situation closely, re-introduce mask mandates immediately and issue very clear and specific guidelines for schools, public places, offices, societies such that latest surge does not lead to a wave.
The survey received inputs from 11,743 citizens located in all districts of Delhi and NCR where 67% of the respondents were men and 33% were women.The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants are validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.