More than three hundred thousand people are now suffering from Covid-19 even as the world struggles to contain the pandemic and find a cure. In India, the number of cases have shot up significantly over the past few days, prompting a lockdown that is growing in scope and spread with every passing hour, and inflicting a heavy toll on the most vulnerable sections of our society.
As testing criteria in India have been stringent so far and are gradually being relaxed, it is likely that cases will continue to mount over the coming days, even if the lockdown mitigates the extent of the spread.
Two other large economies, Japan and the US have faced global criticism over the lack of adequate testing. But while the US has seen a sharp spike in cases, Japan appears to have managed to flatten the curve, if the number of recorded cases can be taken at face value. For India, the next few days will be crucial: as it will tell us whether we continue to follow in the footsteps of the US or move to a flatter Japan-like curve.
So far, Covid-19 has claimed 14,790 deaths globally, of which Italy accounted for the most deaths (5,476), followed by China (3,273) and Spain (2,182). Iran (1,812) and France (674) have reported high numbers of deaths, with Europe emerging as the new Covid-hotspot.
In India, there have only been seven deaths so far but this could change rapidly. So far 415 Covid-positive cases have been recorded by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), of which 24 have recovered.
At 65, Maharashtra leads in terms of number of people affected by COVID-19. Kerala has the second most number of patients (64), followed by Telangana (25). Jharkhand, Goa and the north-eastern states have zero reported cases of the virus so far.
Most Covid-19 cases over the past 48 hours have been reported from Karnataka, Kerala, and Gujarat.
Some experts believe that the number of cases in India is likely to shoot up as testing goes up. According to latest data, 17,493 individuals have been tested at India’s 74 Viral Research and Diagnostic Labs.
Among countries affected by Covid-19, India continues to have one of the lowest testing rates (tests per million population) across the world. As that changes, expect more cases.