Tamil Nadu’s death toll went past 3,000 after data reconciliation forced the state to attribute hundreds of earlier deaths to covid-19
Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, where the coronavirus infection had earlier shown signs of a slowing spread, have reported a nearly 50% increase in active cases in the last seven days, the latest health ministry data showed. The covid-19 death count of the two states has crossed 1,200 each on Thursday morning, and their combined active cases tally is now close to 40,000.
Overall, India has 426,167 active cases as of Thursday morning and 29,861 deaths have been attributed to the infection, the health ministry data showed. Active cases rose 28% in the last seven days, compared to 21% in the week-ago period (9 July to 16 July). 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 since they minimize the effect of volatile and delayed reporting.
For over a month, 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 as well as active cases over the past week.
With cases rising, India’s health facilities and workforce continue to be under severe strain. To curb renewed spread, some states are enforcing localized lockdowns again.
Among states, Maharashtra (12,556), Delhi (3,719), Tamil Nadu (3,144), Gujarat (2,224) and Karnataka (1,519) have reported the most deaths. These states together account for 78% 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.
Tamil Nadu’s toll jumped by nearly 600 within a day after the state government attributed 444 earlier deaths to covid-19.
Of the 12 states with the most active cases, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Assam 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.
Among states with more than 10,000 cases so far, Delhi and Kerala have conducted the most tests per million population per day in the last two weeks, and West Bengal and Assam 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 five districts in Andhra Pradesh—Visakhapatnam (58%), West Godavari (35%), Guntur (26%), East Godavari (21%) and Kurnool (19%). In absolute numbers, Pune and Thane in Maharashtra and Bengaluru in Karnataka reported the biggest increase in cases during this period, data from howindialives.com showed.
So far, at least 521 out of over 700 districts in India have had at least one covid-related death. Mumbai (5,875 deaths) has reported the most, followed by Thane (2,134), Chennai (1,939), Ahmedabad (1,563), and Pune (1,542). 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 (3,719 deaths) has the second-worst toll after Mumbai.
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 15.1 million samples have been tested as of Wednesday, compared to 12.7 million samples a week ago.
India has reported 1,238,635 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 Thursday, 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 782,606 had been discharged by Thursday, as compared to 56% a month ago.
Meanwhile, the global coronavirus case count has crossed 15.1 million, including over 622,000 deaths and more than 8.6 million recoveries (57%).