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 country-wide lockdown.
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 U.S. have faced global criticism over the lack of adequate testing. But while the U.S. has seen a sharp spike in cases, Japan appears to have managed to flatten the curve, if the number of recorded cases are taken at face value.
India has been following the US trajectory over the past few days but now there is a slight dip. If this lasts despite a ramp-up in testing, it would mean that India’s containment efforts may be working.
For India, the next few days will be crucial: as it will tell us whether we move to a flatter Japan-like curve or move back to the US trajectory.
So far, Covid-19 has claimed 16,767 deaths globally, of which Italy accounted for the most deaths (6,077), followed by China (3,281) and Spain (2,318). Iran (1,934) and France (860) have reported high numbers of deaths, with Europe emerging as the new Covid-hotspot.
In India, there have only been nine deaths so far but this could change rapidly. So far 482 Covid-positive cases have been recorded by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), of which 37 have recovered.
At 91, Kerala leads in terms of number of people affected by COVID-19. Maharashtra has the second most number of patients (85), followed by Karnataka (34). Jharkhand, Goa and the north-eastern states have no confirmed cases so far.
Most Covid-19 cases over the past 48 hours have been reported from Karnataka, Kerala and Gujarat.
According to latest data, 19,974 individuals have been tested at India’s 92 Viral Research and Diagnostic Labs . 26 other laboratories are in the process of opening up shortly.
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, the case count is likely to rise. The big question is how fast or slow that rise is going to be.