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13% Rise In COVID Cases Due To Air Pollution, Masks Not Enough As Hospitals Fill Fast In Delhi

Delhi is reeling under the third wave of COVID-19 amid the staggering rise in air pollution, leading to fewer beds in hospitals to accommodate patients.

Doctors said the number of vacant beds are shrinking fast and outpatient departments (OPDs) witnessing a spike in footfall.

Besides this, ICU beds with ventilators at most top private hospitals and major Centre-run facilities are also getting filled up, with the number of cases spiking in the last few days. Delhi recorded over 7,000 COVID-19 cases for the first time, taking tally to over 4.23 lakh on Friday, while fatalities rose to 6,833 with 64 more deaths, authorities said.

Delhi COVID-19

The 7,178 fresh cases came out of the 58,860 tests conducted on Thursday, while the positivity rate stood at 12.19 per cent amid the festive season and rising air pollution in the city, according to the bulletin issued by the Delhi health department.

The previous highest single-day spike was 6,842 cases recorded on Wednesday. The number of daily cases had crossed the 6,000-mark for three consecutive days from November 3-5.

Adding to the woes, the Indian Medical Association said that 13 per cent of this increase has been estimated to be due to air pollution, and that N-95 masks and air purifiers may not provide full time protection.

Delhi COVID-19

Air pollution damages the inner lining of the lungs and hence increases the severity of COVID-19 infection. “Increased air pollution leads to increased inflammatory response. In the last few days, Delhi has reported more than 6000 COVID-19 cases per day. 13 per cent of the increase has been estimated to be due to pollution,” the IMA said.

In the last 10 days, the national capital and its neighbouring areas have seen a sharp spike in air pollution levels.

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