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A health worker sanitises an area near Nizamuddin mosque, after people who attended the religious congregation at Tabligh-e-Jamaat's Markaz (PTI)
A health worker sanitises an area near Nizamuddin mosque, after people who attended the religious congregation at Tabligh-e-Jamaat's Markaz (PTI)

India’s coronavirus curve has spiked up, cases could reach 10,000 in two weeks

Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Delhi have witnessed the biggest daily surge in coronavirus cases

The number of confirmed covid-19 cases in India has jumped 47 percent over the past two days to 1834, the latest data from the ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) published last night shows. This is a faster increase compared to the previous 48 hours, when the case count rose 37 percent to 1251.

India’s trajectory is still flatter than that of the US, which is emerging as the new global epicentre of covid-19. Yet, it is far more steeper than either Singapore or South Korea, which have managed to flatten their coronavirus curves through a combination of focused surveillance, screening, and the effective use of masks to contain the pandemic.

India’s case count is now roughly double what it was four days ago. At this trajectory, the number of cases could shoot up to 10,000 over the next thirteen days. If the same trajectory continues beyond that period, India’s hospitals could get overwhelmed in the next few months.

Given the volatility in India’s daily data over the past few days, it is too early to say whether the current trajectory will sustain, rise, or flatten in the coming days. It is worth noting that the US had a flatter trajectory compared to China till recently. But as testing expanded, cases spiked up, with the US now overtaking China as the country with the most confirmed cases of covid-19.

At 254, Maharashtra leads in terms of the number of active cases of covid-19, according to the latest health ministry update. Active cases exclude deaths and recoveries from the list of confirmed cases. Tamil Nadu has the second most number of active cases (227), followed by Kerala (216). At 144 active cases, Delhi has the fourth-highest number of active cases, followed closely by Telangana (92). The top five states together account for 57 percent of the active cases nationally.

These are early days yet and the state-wise distribution could change rapidly in the coming days. Across the country, there seems to be a strong link between the extent of testing done by states and the number of cases that have been identified. This suggests that as other states ramp up testing, more cases could get reported from those states as well.

Data as of 1st April
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Data as of 1st April
Source: State government portals
View Full Image
Source: State government portals

So far, three states have reported covid-19 cases in the north-east: Manipur, Mizoram, and Assam, with 1 confirmed case so far in each of these states. Other north-eastern states have not reported any case so far.

Over the past two days, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have seen the biggest spikes in confirmed cases. These two states accounted for 47 percent of the rise in confirmed cases nationally over this period.

Source: MoHFW
View Full Image
Source: MoHFW

Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have also seen the biggest spikes in active cases since Tuesday night. The number of active cases rose from 62 to 227 in Tamil Nadu and from 165 to 254 in Maharashtra.

So far, the provisional district wise details are available for 979 confirmed cases nationally. In this list, Mumbai (81 cases) has reported the most number of cases nationally, and also leads in the state of Maharashtra. Kasargod district (78 cases) has reported the most number of cases in Kerala. Bengaluru (43 cases) has reported the most cases in Karnataka and Hyderabad district (27 cases) has reported the most cases in Telangana. Gautam Buddh Nagar district (22 cases) has reported the most number of cases in Uttar Pradesh.

More than nine hundred thousand people have now been detected as covid-19 patients globally even as severe parts of the world, including India, have taken severe lockdown measures in a bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

So far, covid-19 has claimed 47, 208 deaths globally, of which Italy has accounted for the most deaths (13,155), followed by Spain (9,387). These countries have overtaken China --- where the virus originated --- in the number of deaths. China, which has seen 3,316 covid-19 deaths so far, has been able to slow the spread of the disease over the past month.

If Europe followed China in becoming the epicentre of the pandemic, the US has followed Europe now. At 215,417 confirmed cases and 5,116 deaths so far, the US has surpassed China on both counts.

In India, there have been 41 deaths so far but this could change in the coming weeks. Testing criteria in India have been stringent so far and are gradually being relaxed even as new labs have begun testing.

It is likely that cases will continue to mount over the coming days as testing expands, even if the lockdown has lowered the rate of transmission of the virus. The full impact of the lockdown can be gauged only after a few weeks. If the lockdown phase is used effectively to identify and isolate affected patients, this could help India flatten the curve in the coming weeks. If not, cases could spike once the lockdown ends.


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