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The fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Delhi is causing high-grade fever, spreading faster and affecting the younger population, especially those in the age group of 30 to 50, according to experts.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the fourth wave is more dangerous than the previous ones. He further added that according to the data available with him, 65 per cent of the infected patients are below 45 years of age.
The sudden spike in COVID-19 cases in Delhi and across the country over the last few weeks has baffled medical experts.
Some doctors pointed out the reason behind a large number of people contracting the infection this year vis-a-vis last year as "virus mutation", and the current strains are considered more infectious.
Suranjit Chatterjee, a senior consultant at Apollo Hospitals, Delhi, said, "The younger population goes out for work, uses public transportation and hence, there are more chances of coming into contact with others. Many people are still not wearing masks or maintaining social distancing, which has contributed to the rise in cases".
However, he pointed out that the number of deaths in Delhi is lower compared to what was recorded during the previous waves in June, September and November.
Chatterjee, who is a COVID-19 survivor himself, said doctors in their 40s and 50s and other younger healthcare workers in their 30s are getting infected in the current wave despite getting the vaccination.
Richa Sareen, a consultant in pulmonology and critical care medicine at Fortis hospital, said that at the present pace of the spread of the infection, it seems there is a different variant in circulation, and it is more infectious than the previous one.
She commented that the younger population is getting infected more as it goes out for socialising or travelling, and that increases the chance of getting infected.
She added that the elderly have mostly been vaccinated and largely stay at home.
A senior doctor at the Delhi government-run Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital, which has been turned into a dedicated COVID-19 hospital again, also agreed that the coronavirus infection is spreading rapidly among the younger population, reported The New Indian Express.
In the last week of March, when there was a sudden surge in cases, the Union health ministry had said that the new "double mutant" variant of SARS-CoV-2 was detected in Delhi, Maharashtra and some other places, in addition to the other three "variants of concern", first noticed in the UK, South Africa and Brazil. These three variants have been found in at least 18 states and union territories.
Various strains of SARS-CoV-2, including the UK, South Africa and Brazil variants, have been categorised as highly transmissible by experts.
The Delhi government imposed a night curfew in the national capital starting from April 6, after the sudden spike in COVID-19 cases.
The national capital recorded its biggest daily rise of 10,774 COVID-19 cases on Sunday.
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