Bihar has among the lowest testing rates in the country, but its coronavirus spread is now faster than most other states
India’s total coronavirus case tally is set to hit the 1.5 million mark in five days’ time if it continues to rise at the same pace as since early July, an analysis of the latest health ministry data showed. Active cases, or the number of patients still under treatment, are rising at a much faster rate recently: the jump was 28% in the last seven days, compared to 21% in the week-ago period (10 July to 17 July).
Overall, India has 440,135 active cases as of Friday morning and 30,601 deaths have been attributed to the infection, the health ministry data showed. The seven-day spike in deaths is 19%, higher than 18% in the preceding week. The seven-day rolling averages have been considered for these calculations to minimize the effect of volatile and delayed reporting.
Since early June, new infections and deaths have been rising faster in India than in most other badly-hit countries. The country has the third highest number of active cases, after the United States and Brazil. The toll is the seventh highest in the world. Among high-fatality countries (more than 10,000 deaths), India has recorded the biggest spike in deaths and the second biggest jump in active cases over the past week.
Among states, Maharashtra (12,854), Delhi (3,745), Tamil Nadu (3,232), Gujarat (2,252) and Karnataka (1,616) have reported the most deaths. These states together account for 77% of all covid-related deaths in India so far. However, only two of them, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, have seen a bigger spike than the national average in the last seven days.
Of the 12 states with the most active cases, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Bihar have reported the biggest percentage jumps in deaths. In terms of active cases, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Bihar led the surge in this period, based on the seven-day rolling averages.
It is worth noting that data quality on cases and deaths vary across countries and regions because of factors such as differences in testing standards, and in protocols being followed for recording covid-related deaths. For example, Tamil Nadu’s toll jumped by nearly 600 within a day earlier this week after the state government attributed 444 earlier deaths to covid-19.
Among states with more than 10,000 cases so far, Tamil Nadu and Kerala have conducted the most tests per million population per day in the last two weeks, and West Bengal and Bihar the fewest, data collected by The Hindu showed.
Among the 15 districts with the highest number of new cases in the last 48 hours, the biggest percentage spikes were reported by six districts in Andhra Pradesh—Visakhapatnam (71%), Guntur (33%), West Godavari (33%), East Godavari (31%), Kurnool (24%) and Anantapur (23%). In absolute numbers, Pune and Thane in Maharashtra and Bengaluru in Karnataka reported the biggest increase in cases during this period, data compiled by howindialives.com on Thursday evening showed.
So far, at least 522 out of over 700 districts in India have had at least one covid-related death. Mumbai (5,930 deaths) has reported the most, followed by Thane (2,181), Chennai (1,947), Pune (1,620), and Ahmedabad (1,568). Bengaluru in Karnataka and Kolkata in West Bengal are the other districts with more than 500 deaths. This list does not include Delhi, where the government does not provide district-wise data. State-level data shows Delhi (3,745 deaths) has the second-worst toll after Mumbai.
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The number of coronavirus infections is likely to keep increasing in the coming days, with India now consistently testing over 300,000 samples per day. According to the Indian Council for Medical Research, nearly 15.4 million samples have been tested as of Thursday, compared to 13.1 million samples a week ago.
India has reported 1,287,945 coronavirus cases in all since the beginning of the outbreak in late January. However, the actual number of infected people could be much larger. Many infections go unreported due to lack of symptoms or variations in testing and reporting practices. A seroprevalence survey in Delhi earlier this month  found antibodies in the samples of 23% of the participants, which could mean they had been infected by the virus already. A set of 60,000 antibody tests conducted all over India by private diagnostic laboratory Thyrocare found antibodies in 15% of them.
This means the actual fatality rate due to coronavirus could be much lower than is believed, in India as well as other countries. As of Friday, 2.4% of the infected patients have died so far, based on government data. The global average is 4.1%.
Out of all reported cases so far, 63%, or 817,208 had been discharged by Friday, as compared to 57% a month ago.
Meanwhile, the global coronavirus case count has crossed 15.4 million, including over 632,000 deaths and more than 8.7 million recoveries (57%).