India’s trajectory has been steep and steady over the past few days. India’s curve is still flatter than that of the US, which has emerged as the new global epicentre of covid-19. Yet, it is steeper than Asian peers such as Singapore and Japan. Both countries had managed to flatten their trajectories in the early days through focused screening and testing. But a second wave of infections suggests that their efforts might not have been enough still.
India is already in the 15th day of a 21-day lockdown and the case count continues to mount. India’s case count is now roughly double what it was four days ago. At this trajectory, the number of cases could shoot up to 10,000 over the next four days. If the same trajectory continues beyond that period, India’s hospitals could get overwhelmed in the next few months.
It is likely that cases will continue to rise as testing expands, even if the lockdown has lowered the rate of transmission of the virus. At 764, Maharashtra leads in terms of the number of active cases of covid-19, according to the health ministry update on Tuesday evening. Active cases exclude deaths and recoveries from the list of confirmed cases. Mumbai accounts for a lion’s share of these cases. With two major hospitals in Mumbai sealed because of a large number of confirmed cases among health workers and new cases detected in the city’s slums, it is likely that the case count for the city and the state will continue to mount over the coming days.
Tamil Nadu has the second most number of active cases (608), closely followed by Delhi (548). At 322 active cases, Telangana has the fourth-highest number of active cases, followed closely by Uttar Pradesh (281). The top five states together account for 59 percent of the active cases nationally. Nationally, the active case count was 4312, as of yesterday evening. Kerala, which was in the top five group so far is no longer in this category, and has 267 active cases currently.
These are early days yet and the state-wise distribution could change in the coming days. Across the country, the extent of testing done by states and the number of cases that have been identified appear to be linked. This suggests that as other states ramp up testing, more cases could get reported from those states as well.
A study by public health researchers published on Monday suggested that Kerala, Goa, Rajasthan, Delhi, and Chandigarh have been more proactive in testing compared to other states. States such as Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, West Bengal, and Gujarat which have low testing rates and high fatality rates may have missed several cases in their early stages because of low testing, the study published by the British Medical Journal blog suggests.
Over the past two days, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have seen the biggest spikes in active cases. These two states accounted for 43 percent of the rise in active cases nationally over this period. Telangana saw the third highest spike in this period. Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim are the only states that have not reported any case so far.
The number of active cases rose from 424 to 764 in Maharashtra, from 476 to 608 in Tamil Nadu, and from 230 to 322 in Telangana over the past two days.
The top ten districts account for 41 percent of confirmed cases in the country, data compiled by howindialives.com shows. And the top 50 districts account for roughly 70 percent of the cases.
So far, 355 districts have confirmed cases. Among these districts, Mumbai (632 cases) has reported the most number of cases nationally, followed by South Delhi (296). Pune (159) and Thane (88) in Maharashtra, Kasargod (158) in Kerala, Chennai (149) in Tamil Nadu, Indore (149) in Madhya Pradesh, Hyderabad (145) in Telangana, Jaipur (108) in Rajasthan, and Ahmedabad (83) in Gujarat are the other top hotspots in the country.
More than 1.4 million people have now been detected as covid-19 patients globally even as several parts of the world, including India, have taken severe lockdown measures in a bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes covid-19.
So far, covid-19 has claimed 82,074 deaths worldwide, of which Italy has accounted for the most deaths (17,127), followed by Spain (14,045). These countries have overtaken China — where the virus originated — in the number of deaths. China, which has claimed 3,337 covid-19 deaths so far, has been able to slow the spread of the disease over the past month. But the Chinese official covid-19 toll has increasingly faced questions from within and outside China.
Europe followed China in becoming the epicentre of the pandemic but has seen a slowdown in new cases over the past few days. The US has now turned into the epicentre of the pandemic, with 3,98,785 confirmed cases and 12,893 deaths.
In India, there were 124 deaths till yesterday evening, double what it was four days ago. Even though India’s fatality rate remains low at the moment, India’s testing rate too remains low. Testing criteria in India were stringent so far and are only gradually being relaxed even as new labs have begun testing.
Given the limited testing so far, it is too early to say whether India’s current trajectory will sustain, rise, or flatten in the coming days.