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Photo: ANI
Photo: ANI

Coronavirus spreading again in West Bengal, Rajasthan

For the second straight week, southern India—particularly Karnataka—has reported the biggest surge in coronavirus infections as well as deaths

India this week became the third worst affected country in the coronavirus pandemic, with over 767,000 confirmed infections so far as of Thursday morning. The last few days marked a resumption of the spread of the virus in some states that had earlier reported a slowdown in active cases, such as West Bengal, Rajasthan and Gujarat. Meanwhile, southern India, led by Bengaluru, is fast emerging as a worrying hotspot with fast-rising numbers, in line with last week’s trend.

With 21,129 deaths overall, India’s toll is the eighth highest in the world, and the trajectory is still rising at a fast pace. Unlike the curves of some other major countries, India’s trajectory is yet to peak or stabilize.

India accounted for over 11% of the 1.4 million cases confirmed globally in the last seven days. This was the third highest share after the United States and Brazil. Of the nearly 35,000 deaths recorded globally in this period, India accounted for 9%.

India’s active cases, which now stand at 269,789, have risen 20%, and deaths 19% over this week, based on seven-day rolling averages. While the growth rate for active cases was in line with the previous week, deaths have slowed down marginally. The recovery rate has been rising steadily. Nearly 62%, or 476,378, of India’s coronavirus patients have now recovered, as compared to 49% a month ago.

Globally, the coronavirus case count has crossed 12 million, with close to 550,000 deaths, and nearly 6.5 million (55%) recoveries. Among all countries with more than 5,000 fatalities, India has the worst weekly growth rate in cases, and at its current pace, could cross the 1 million mark by 17 July, a Mint analysis shows.

Maharashtra, Delhi, and Tamil Nadu continue to lead in the number of active cases, and together have 60% of them. The death count is led by Maharashtra, Delhi and Gujarat—which have a 69% share of the national toll.

The death trajectory has become steeper for three southern states in the last fortnight. Based on seven-day rolling averages, Karnataka has reported a 74% jump in death toll in the last week. This spike was 40% for Tamil Nadu and 38% for Andhra Pradesh. The seven-day rolling averages have been considered for these calculations since they minimize the effect of volatile and delayed reporting.

With this, Tamil Nadu (1,700 deaths) is now fast approaching Gujarat (1,993) in terms of the death count. Gujarat’s toll has been rising slowly in the last few weeks. In Maharashtra, which has the most deaths, the toll rose 18%. However, the death counts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana remain well below 500 despite the recent surge.

Rajasthan, which had earlier slipped out of the top 10 states in terms of active cases, is back in the list after a 16% increase over the last week. West Bengal also reported a 25% rise in active cases during the period. Infections have been spreading at a fast rate in Assam, too.

The case fatality rates—or the number of patients who died—are the highest in Gujarat (5.2%), Maharashtra (4.2%), and Madhya Pradesh (3.9%).

The fresh case-load in southern states is led by Bengaluru, where confirmed cases are now nearly two times a week ago—the biggest spike by far among the 15 top cities in terms of population. In general, large cities continue to be disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. Delhi has 102,831 confirmed cases and 3,165 deaths as per latest data. Chennai (88,040), Mumbai (87,852 cases), Ahmedabad (23,189), and Pune (31,704) are the other major hotspots.

These five cities account for 44% of confirmed cases and 59% of deaths nationally. The top 15 cities together account for 54% of confirmed cases and 66% of covid-related deaths in India. Data for all cities have been aggregated from district-wise data compiled by howindialives.com, as of Wednesday evening.

In the past week, deaths have risen in Bengaluru and Kanpur by 82% and 33% respectively—the fastest increase among all metros. Among the top 15 cities, the case fatality rates are the highest in Ahmedabad (6.6%), followed by Mumbai (5.8%) and Indore (5%), and the lowest in Hyderabad (0.1%), Nagpur (0.9%), and, Bengaluru and Lucknow (1.4%).

The Mint Covid Tracker runs every week in the print edition. For daily updates to the tracker

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