Home >News >India >Coronavirus cases surging in Assam and Bihar

India began its nationwide lockdown on 25 March, one of the most stringent in the world, with a resolve to ‘flatten’ the virus curve. Two months later, India prepares to bring an end to the lockdown even as the virus continues to spread across the country.

Earlier this week, India became the 9th country to have 150,000 coronavirus cases, and the 14th country to record more than 4,000 covid-related deaths. The case tally took eight days to jump from 100,000 to 150,000, making India the 4th fastest country to do so. However, since the surge in the death count was not as big, the fatality rate has now declined slightly to 2.9 percent, after hovering around 3.2 percent for weeks.

Though the United States continues to have the highest case-load, South America appears to be emerging as a new epicentre of the outbreak, according to the World Health Organization. The infections are rising the fastest in Brazil, the country with the second-highest case-load. The US, Brazil and Russia together have 44 percent of all the cases worldwide. India, whose rate of growth of infections is second only to Brazil among countries with more than a 1000 deaths, has 3 percent of cases worldwide.

India’s doubling time for total confirmed cases has remained steady at 14 days over the past week. At its current pace, India could cross the 200,000 mark in five days.

Within India, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, and Gujarat continue to be the worst affected states with the highest number of cases. These four states now account for 67 percent of confirmed cases and 72 percent of fatalities.

Among states with more than 1,000 active cases, the doubling rates (based on the seven-day rolling averages) are the highest for Maharashtra (15 days), Tamil Nadu (17 days) and West Bengal (18 days). The doubling rates are the slowest for Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh (32 days for both) among such states. Active cases exclude deaths and recoveries from the list of confirmed cases. The seven-day rolling averages help smoothen volatility effects in daily reporting and are useful to gauge trends over time.

Several states with few cases in earlier weeks, such as Assam and Kerala, have seen a surge in cases over the past week. Other states which had seen a dip earlier such as Karnataka have also seen a rebound, partly owing to the opening up of travel restrictions in the ongoing fourth phase of the lockdown. Bihar, which has seen a major influx of migrants moving back to their hometowns from urban centres, has seen a sharp spike over the past week.

Cases appear to be slowing in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh. However, in the case of Telangana, which has been rationing tests, the number of cases likely reflects low testing rates.

Maharashtra (1,897 deaths) leads in the number of covid-related deaths so far, followed by Gujarat (938). Madhya Pradesh (313), Delhi (303), West Bengal (289) are other high-fatality states. Among the top ten states with most active cases, the case fatality rates are the highest in West Bengal (6.9%), Gujarat (6.2%), and Madhya Pradesh (4.3%).

Large cities continue to be disproportionately affected by the coronavirus, with Mumbai crossing 34,000 cases and 1,000 deaths this week. The top fifteen cities in terms of population together account for 67 percent of confirmed cases and 70 percent of covid-related deaths nationally. Data for all cities have been aggregated from district-wise case data compiled by howindialives.com, as of Wednesday evening.

Delhi with 15,257 confirmed cases, Chennai (14,254 cases), Ahmedabad (11,334 cases), and Pune (6,445 cases) are the other major hotspots so far. The cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Ahmedabad, and Pune account for 58 percent of confirmed cases and 62 percent of deaths nationally.

In the past week, confirmed cases in Chennai and Pune rose to 14,254 and 6,445 respectively, the fastest increase among the top 15 cities by population. Lucknow, Kanpur and Bengaluru have relatively fewer cases compared to other cities at the moment.

Among the top 15 cities, the case fatality rates are highest in Kolkata (8.4%), Ahmedabad (6.9%), and Surat (4.6%). The case fatality rates are lowest in Lucknow (0.6%), Chennai (0.8%), and Hyderabad (1.7%).

The Mint Covid Tracker runs every week in the print edition. For daily updates to the tracker, visit https://www.livemint.com/topic/mint-covid-tracker

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