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Photo: ANI
Photo: ANI

Coronavirus spread picks up again in Telangana, Delhi this week

Active cases in India rose 10% in the last seven days, the biggest weekly jump in a month

A month-long trend of slowing spread of the coronavirus in India has ended this week. India is now reporting more new cases in a day than any country has done ever during the pandemic. In the last seven days, the number of active cases rose 10%, the biggest jump in four weeks. Several major states, particularly Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Delhi, saw a renewed surge.

The Centre sent high-level teams to four states —Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha—to examine the spreading infection.

Meanwhile, another sero-survey, this time in Chennai, strengthened the belief that the virus may have infected many more Indians than is known .

This also means that India’s infection fatality rate could be much lower than is believed.

India accounted for 29% of the 1.85 million cases added globally over the last seven days. This is the highest share by far among all countries. The United States and Brazil both had around 15% share each.

However, deaths continued to slow down. Typically, it takes a few weeks for a spurt in infections to reflect in a similar rise in deaths. India now has 67,376 covid-related deaths as of Thursday morning, after a 12% weekly jump, latest data from the health ministry showed.

Death trajectories had stabilized in Delhi and Gujarat by June. Maharashtra’s curve is not worsening, but has been rising at a stable rate. Punjab has been steady, and became the ninth state to cross 1,500 deaths this week. The state’s toll rose 30% this week.

Deaths rose 15% in Bihar and 12% in Madhya Pradesh in the last seven days, the only major states where the curve steepened during the period. All calculations are based on seven-day rolling averages, which minimize the effect of volatile and delayed reporting.

Nineteen states have more than 10,000 active cases, but most have crossed the 70% mark in recovery rate, or the proportion of patients who have been discharged. In Chhattisgarh, active cases rose nearly 70% over the past week, the fastest of all states. The weekly pace of rise in active cases was 31% in Telangana, 30% in Jharkhand, 25% in Haryana.

The number of active cases now stands at 815,538, while 2,970,492 patients have been discharged. Delhi and Bihar have an 88% recovery rate, followed by Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Rajasthan. More than four in five patients have recovered in all these states.

The five states with the most deaths—Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Delhi, and Andhra Pradesh—have a 70% share in the national death count. Among the states and Union territories with at least 100 deaths, Tripura (40%), Puducherry (39%), and Chhattisgarh (36%) observed the biggest jumps in their toll this week.

After affecting the largest urban centres and metro cities the most in its initial months, the virus has picked up in smaller towns and rural areas now. Among the 134 districts with at least 5,000 confirmed cases so far, the biggest percentage spikes over the last seven days were reported by Raipur (47%) in Chhattisgarh, Cuttack (45%) in Odisha, and Sangli (42%) in Maharashtra, data compiled by howindialives.com showed.

This is a matter of worry because most parts of rural India, particularly in poorer states, do not match the cities in their healthcare systems.

Last month, Pune became the worst-hit city in India, surpassing Mumbai’s case count. The city now has 182,212 coronavirus cases.

Last month, Pune became the worst-hit city in India, surpassing Mumbai’s case count. The city now has 178,598 coronavirus cases.

Right since the beginning of the pandemic, data has shown that states’ testing strategies can influence the numbers they report. Among the top 10 states, Telangana and Odisha have conducted the most tests per million population over the last fortnight, and West Bengal and Maharashtra the fewest, data from covid19india.org showed.

India’s share in the cumulative death count is 8% but it has been rising steadily. In just the last seven days, the country accounted for 19% of over 37,000 deaths recorded globally, higher than both the US and Brazil.

Worryingly, the trajectory of deaths is still rising fast. It could worsen further, given the recent spike in cases across India.

Globally, the coronavirus case count has crossed 26 million, including over 860,000 deaths and nearly 17.3 million recoveries (66%), data from Johns Hopkins University showed.

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