NEW DELHI: Battling the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Delhi recorded over 17,000 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday to become the worst-affected city in the country, leaving financial capital Mumbai far behind in the daily tally.
Mumbai's single day peak so far is 11,163, registered on April 4, according to officials figures.
On Wednesday, Bengaluru recorded 8,155 cases, Chennai 2,564, their highest daily surge.
Pune's highest single-day since the pandemic began was 12,494 cases, recorded on April 4.
Delhi recorded 17,282 fresh cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the highest single-day surge in the national capital since the onset of the pandemic, while over 100 fatalities were reported, according to data shared by the health department.
Thus, Delhi has eclipsed Mumbai in the daily infection tally by a huge margin.
The unprecedented surge in cases, especially in the last few days, has also left doctors and medical experts baffled, with some conjecturing that the virus has mutated and assumed so many different strains, some of which are far more transmissible than others.
"It is an absolute rampage in the city, young and old, vaccinated or not vaccinated, the virus is just hitting everyone. Delhi's situation is grim," said Suranjit Chatterjee, a senior consultant at Apollo Hospitals here.
According to the Wednesday bulletin, 104 new fatalities were recorded, pushing the death toll to 11,540.
These new positive cases came out of record 1.08 lakh tests conducted on Tuesday, the bulletin said, adding, the positivity rate mounted to 15.92 per cent, also the highest so far.
The highest single-day spike in Delhi till the third wave of the pandemic -- 8,593 cases -- was reported on November 11 in 2020, while on November 18, the city had recorded 131 COVID-19 deaths, the highest single-day fatality count till date.
The positivity rate on November 14 last year had stood at 15.33 per cent, according to official data.
Delhi had recorded 10,774 cases on April 11, overtaking the highest daily surge here till the third wave, registered on November 11 -- 8,593 cases -- was reported on November 11, while on November 18, the city had recorded 131 COVID-19 deaths, the highest single-day fatality count till date.
The cases in Delhi have since April 11 been on an upward spiral, 13,468 cases on Tuesday, and eventually 17,282 cases on Wednesday.
Mumbai in April till Wednesday has recorded 1,30,228 cases and 464 deaths.
In March, 88,710 cases in total and 216 fatalities have been recorded in that month in the financial capital of the country, according to official data.
In March, Delhi registered 23,141 cases in total and 117 deaths, according to official figures.
Richa Sareen, consultant, Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine, Fortis hospital here, said, "Given the pace of spread, it definitely seems there is a different variant in circulation and it is more infectious than the previous one."
She said the younger population was getting more infected as elderly have mostly got vaccinated, and the older population is more at home, but younger demographic segment is gong out and meeting others or socialising, partying or travelling, which increases the chance of infection.
A senior doctor at the Delhi government-run Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital, which has been turned into a fully COVID hospital again, said there has been a massive surge in number of patients at the facility in the last few days.
From April 4 to April 13, Delhi has recorded a total of 77,775 COVID-19 cases, witnessing a massive rise of 234 per cent.
During the same period, 376 people have died due to the disease.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday announced sweeping restrictions, including a weekend curfew and the closure of malls, gyms, spas and auditoriums, in a bid to break the chain of COVID infections in the city.
There will be no in-house dining in restaurants and cinema halls will be allowed to operate with only 30 per cent capacity, the chief minister said at an online press conference a day after the city recorded the biggest single-day jump 17,282 new COVID-19 cases.
Kejrwal said essential services and weddings will not be affected during the weekend curfew and passes will be provided to those attending weddings.