Coronavirus | ICMR reports a huge spike in infections in a single day

83% of all deaths so far have been due to co-morbidities.

Updated - April 19, 2020 01:21 am IST

Published - April 18, 2020 10:36 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Nilesh Thakur, who is visually impaired and used to sell wares on a local train, stands at the entrance of his home in Thane on April 18, 2020.

Nilesh Thakur, who is visually impaired and used to sell wares on a local train, stands at the entrance of his home in Thane on April 18, 2020.

In a major spike in COVID-19 cases, the Indian Council of Medical Research reported that a total of 16,365 individuals have now been confirmed positive in the country. On Saturday till 9 p.m., 2,154 persons (the highest in a single day) were found positive for SARS-CoV-2.

The Union Health Ministry reported that there were 36 deaths in the past 24 hours.

Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India | State-wise tracker for coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates

“An encouraging trend has been noted in 47 districts across 23 States with no positive cases being reported over the past 28 days. This includes 22 new districts in 12 States that have not reported any fresh case during the past 14 days,” Joint secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said.

Among the 22 new districts are Lakhisarai, Gopalganj, Bhagalpur in Bihar, Dholpur and Udaipur in Rajasthan, Pulwama in J&K, Thoubal in Manipur, Chitradurga in Karnataka and Hoshiarpur in Punjab.

The Health Ministry added that the mortality rate in the country is currently around 3.3%.

“An age-wise analysis indicates that 14.4% deaths have been reported in the age group of 0-45 years. Between 45-60 years it is 10.3%, between 60-75 it is 33.1% and for 75 years and above it is 42.2%,” Mr. Agarwal said. He added that 83% of the cases had co-morbidities.

According to reports from the State Health Departments, the death toll stood at 522, with 12,874 active cases out of 15,667 positive cases. With 3,105 active cases, Maharashtra leads the tally followed by Delhi (1,778), Gujarat (1,230) and Madhya Pradesh (1,206).

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No new cases in 47 districts for 28 days

Continuing to give a break-up on the cases related to a religious gathering in New Delhi’s Nizamuddin area in March this year the Health Ministry noted that out of the 14,792 cases in the country 4,291 (29.8%) cases are related to this single single source.

“This has spread to 23 States and UTs. 84% cases in Tamil Nadu, 63% cases in Delhi, 79% cases in Telangana, 59% cases in U.P. and 61% in Andhra Pradesh are related to the event,” said Mr. Agarwal.

The Health Ministry also showcased how Kasargod district in Kerala successfully contained COVID-19.

“The district faced many challenges due to foreign travel, geography and large number of expatriates, but the district addressed the challenges well. Out of 168 cases, 113 cases have recovered. With special focus on clinical management, not even one person died. Remaining 55 active cases too are being monitored actively,” said Mr. Agarwal.

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Speaking about Kerala’s strategic approach, he said the State administration appointed a special officer to coordinate and monitor effective containment.

“Along with a 100% house-to-house survey, a very effective campaign called “Break The Chain” was done and Kasargod used drones for surveillance and GPS for tracking people on home quarantine and did aggressive testing,” the Ministry said.

Replying to a question on hydroxychloroquine trial, Dr. R. Gangakhedkar of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said around 480 patients have been enrolled in an 8-week observational study on efficacy of the drug.

“ICMR has launched another study on side-effects of HCQ on health care workers, using data of some health care workers who had started taking HCQ. He informed that AIIMS is conducting studies on assessing both prophylactic and therapeutic impact of HCQ on COVID-19 - i.e. the ability of the drug for both prevention and healing. Some adverse reactions like abdominal pain have been reported in health care workers,” he said.

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Responding to a question on the efficacy of another drug remdesivir in treatment of COVID-19, Dr. Gangakhedkar said studies show that in 68% of COVID-2019 patients, use of Remdesivir reduces oxygen demand.

He noted that the manufacturer Gilead Sciences says that it is likely to be beneficial adding that “data on the interim analysis being done by them is not yet available”.

“If in coming weeks we come to know that remdesivir is beneficial in treating COVID-19, it will either go into patent pooling or otherwise if it becomes available, India too can start doing its trials. Besides, WHO Solidarity Trial, in which India too is participating, has an arm on remdesivir.’’

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