Home >News >India >Mint Covid Tracker: Virus rages in south India, active cases double in Kerala

For over a month, four of the five states of southern India have been major hotspots of the coronavirus. Kerala, the fifth state, had already flattened its curve by May, and was reporting only a gradual increase in cases. But that is no more true. This week, Kerala’s outbreak has intensified, and the state is considering a fresh lockdown after an 87% rise in active cases in a week.

Meanwhile, the surge in new cases as well as deaths related to covid-19 has worsened in Andhra Pradesh in the last seven days. Five districts—Guntur, East Godavari, West Godavari, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool—have together reported nearly 6,600 cases within the last two days. Karnataka continues to report the worst rise in deaths, led by Bengaluru.

With this, India now has 426,167 active coronavirus cases as of Thursday morning, while 29,861 patients have died, latest data from the health ministry showed. Earlier in the week, Karnataka overtook Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal in the covid-19 death count, and now has 1,519 deaths. Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have higher tolls, and the top five states have a 78% share in the national death count.

By now, the death trajectories of Delhi and Gujarat appear to have stabilized. Maharashtra’s trajectory, though not worsening, has been rising at a stable rate. Death tolls are rising rapidly in some other states. In the last seven days, the curve has become steeper for Andhra Pradesh, where the number rose 86% during the period. The figure is 88% for Karnataka. Uttar Pradesh’s death trajectory has also got slightly steeper this week.

Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Assam have reported the biggest percentage jumps in deaths in the last seven days, while the surge in active cases has been led by Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Bihar. All calculations are based on seven-day rolling averages, which minimize the effect of volatile and delayed reporting.

Just three states—Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka—together account for 55% of all active cases in India. Andhra Pradesh has climbed to fourth in the list, followed by Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Delhi, whose total number of confirmed cases is still the third highest, now has just 12% of its patients still under treatment.

However, right since the beginning of the pandemic, data has shown that states’ testing strategies can influence the numbers they report. Among the top 10 states, Delhi and Tamil Nadu have conducted the most tests per million population over the last week, and West Bengal and Bihar the fewest, data collected by The Hindu showed.

In general, large cities continue to be disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. Five urban centres—Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad—alone account for 47% of confirmed cases and 55% of deaths nationally. Fifteen top cities account for 59% of confirmed cases and 72% of covid-related deaths in India. Data for all cities have been aggregated from district-wise data compiled by howindialives.com, as of Wednesday evening.

Over the last week, Chennai reported the highest number of new deaths, followed by Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru and Delhi. In percentage terms, Bengaluru’s 67% spike was the biggest. The increase in deaths in Chennai came after the state government attributed hundreds of earlier deaths to covid-19 following data reconciliation.

With 1,238,635 infections recorded by Thursday morning, India is the third worst-hit country in the pandemic, while the death toll is the seventh worst. Worryingly, the trajectory of deaths is still rising at a fast pace. Unlike the curves of some other badly-hit countries, India’s trajectory has yet to peak or stabilize.

Of the 520,000 active cases added globally over the last seven days, India accounted for nearly 17%—second only to the United States. India accounted for 12% of the nearly 38,000 deaths recorded globally in this period, the third highest share after the US and Brazil.

Active cases in India have risen 28% and deaths 19% over this week, based on seven-day rolling averages. Both rates are higher than last week. The recovery rate has been rising steadily. Nearly 63%, or 782,607, of India’s coronavirus patients have now recovered, as compared to 56% a month ago.

Globally, the coronavirus case count has crossed 15.1 million, including over 622,000 deaths and more than 8.6 million recoveries (57%). Among all countries with more than 10,000 fatalities, India has the worst weekly growth rate in cases, and at its current pace, could cross the 1.5 million mark by 29 July.

The Mint Covid Tracker runs every week in the print edition. For daily updates to the tracker, click here

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