Home / News / India /  Gujarat, Rajasthan, MP stare at second covid wave after Diwali

More and more Indian states could now be staring at a fresh wave of coronavirus infections, even as the national numbers slow down. In the week gone by, states such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra reported an increase in active cases for the first time in weeks.

Delhi and Haryana have already been in the midst of a resurgence in the infection this month. The growing list of such states raises the fear that the Diwali week in mid-November may have undone some of the advances made so far.

The winter could be as big a factor, especially in the northern and central belts. Punjab and Himachal Pradesh are also reporting a fast-increasing caseload.

Rajasthan added the most active cases in the past week—6,842 of them. This is a 26% jump, based on seven-day rolling averages. Madhya Pradesh added 4,404 active cases (30% rise), and Gujarat added 1,830 (9% rise). These three states were hotspots of covid-19 early in the pandemic, but had been able to control the spread since.

Active cases refer to the number of infected persons who have not tested negative yet. Most states had been reporting a decline in this tally since end-September, easing pressure on healthcare systems. But a change in this trend means new patients again outnumber those who are recovering.

This has led the governments in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab to re-impose night curfews in some districts.

Maharashtra has made it mandatory for travellers from four states to carry covid-negative test reports.

Meanwhile, the third wave in Delhi continues to claim more lives daily than ever before in the pandemic. Almost 21% of the 3,643 deaths recorded in the country since last Thursday were in the national capital. The city’s toll increased 10% in a week—the fastest among major states and Union territories.

Kerala and Haryana were next, with a 9.5% and 8% weekly jump in their tolls. With this, India’s death count has reached 135,223 on Thursday, rising 3% since last week.

Delhi also made up the largest chunk (14%) of all new cases reported this week. Kerala and Maharashtra followed, with a 13% share each. West Bengal, where the outbreak has calmed down since the Durga Puja peak, continues to report over 25,000 cases a week, or 4% of all cases. Overall, India reported 304,895 new cases in the past week, taking the tally to 9,266,705.

All weekly trends are based on seven-day rolling averages to minimize the effect of volatile and delayed reporting. The national and state-wise data are sourced from the Union health ministry.

Among all 324 districts with over 5,000 confirmed cases so far, the ones with the worst spikes in infections in the last seven days were Shimla (27%) and Mandi (17%) in Himachal Pradesh, and Faridabad (14%) in Haryana, data from shows. After dominating the list for weeks, Kerala now has only one district, Idukki, in the top 10.

Deaths rose the most in Sundargarh (30%) in Odisha, and Shimla (23%) and Kangra (20%) in Himachal Pradesh. District-wise data does not include Delhi.

In the last fortnight, the positivity rate has increased in Delhi, Kerala, West Bengal, Haryana, and Rajasthan, data from showed. High testing shows Delhi and Kerala are making efforts to find those who are infected, but an increase in positivity shows even that may not be enough.

Rajasthan and West Bengal have the lowest testing rates. With the outbreak intensifying in Rajasthan, the state will need to test more people to control the spread.

Globally, the United States reported the biggest share (30%) of new coronavirus cases over the past week, followed by India (7%) and Brazil (5%). India’s share marks a significant improvement in the past two months: it was reporting nearly one-third of all the world’s daily cases in September.

Among new deaths reported in the past week, the US and India had a 16% and 5% share, respectively. The global coronavirus case count has now crossed 60 million, including 1.4 million deaths, data from Johns Hopkins University showed.

The resurgence in coronavirus cases in new states is a reminder that controlling the virus once is not enough. In the past two months, festivals and the winter have been the biggest obstacles to sustaining the gains. After Durga Puja and Diwali, the next challenge for urban India will be Christmas at the peak of winter. A second wave cannot be ruled out yet.

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