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At a time when India has reduced its daily covid-19 numbers to levels last seen in July, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan reported a significant surge in infections this week. The spike comes two weeks after Diwali festivities, which saw a remarkable rise in public movement across the country, according to Google data.

Although mobility has scaled back now, fears of a second wave have already strengthened. In the last seven days, active coronavirus cases rose 24% in Madhya Pradesh and 21% in Rajasthan, based on seven-day rolling averages. In Gujarat, the number went up by 9%.

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In absolute numbers, the highest jump in active cases (4,123) was recorded in Maharashtra—a sharp reversal for a state where the number had been coming down every week until as recently as Diwali.

Active cases is the number of covid-19 patients who have not tested negative yet. Most states had been reporting a decline in this tally since end-September, easing pressure on healthcare systems. But a change in this trend means new patients again outnumber those who are recovering.

Delhi continued to record the most covid-related deaths. The city’s toll rose 8% in a week, with its 622 deaths comprising nearly a fifth of all fatalities in India. But the biggest spike (9%) came from Haryana, where nearly 200 people died within a week. In Kerala, the toll rose 9%.

With this, the total death toll in India has reached 138,648, nearly 5% higher than last week.

As relaxed restrictions were encouraging tourists to venture out, fresh outbreaks have forced the hill states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand to issue fresh curbs. Active cases jumped over 15% in both states. Himachal Pradesh has closed Lahaul-Spiti for tourists till April after an entire village got infected with the coronavirus, while Uttarakhand has made a coronavirus test mandatory for tourists.

Rajasthan has imposed a lockdown in containment zones and a night curfew in 13 districts.

After a gap of a few weeks, Kerala and Maharashtra again contributed more new coronavirus cases than Delhi. Both recorded over 36,000 cases each in the last one week, which was 27% of all cases in India in the period. Delhi had a 12% share.

Overall, India added nearly 272,000 cases in total, taking the total to 9,534,964.

All weekly trends are based on seven-day rolling averages to minimize the effect of volatile and delayed reporting. The national and state-wise data are sourced from the Union health ministry.

Among all 328 districts with over 5,000 confirmed cases so far, Himachal Pradesh’s capital Shimla (26%) reported the worst spike over the past week, data from howindialives.com shows. Three other districts of Himachal Pradesh also featured at the top, and each reported a massive jump this week: 17% each in Kangra and Mandi, and 11% in Solan.

Shimla and Kangra also led in deaths, with around 22% jump in their tolls in just a week.

In the last fortnight, the positivity rate has increased marginally in Delhi, Kerala, and Rajasthan, data from covid19india.org showed. High testing shows Delhi and Kerala are making efforts to find those who are infected, but an increase in positivity shows even that may not be enough.

Rajasthan and West Bengal have the lowest testing rates. With the outbreak intensifying in Rajasthan, the state will need to test more people to control the spread.

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Globally, the United States continues to add the biggest chunk of new coronavirus cases: nearly 28% of all cases in the last one week. India and Brazil contributed 7% each. India’s share has improved significantly, it was reporting nearly one-third of all the world’s daily cases in September.

Among the new deaths reported in the past one week, the US had a 16% share. Italy, which had contained the pandemic earlier, is back among the worst-hit countries. The country contributed to nearly 7% of the new deaths.

The global COVID count has crossed 64 million, including 1.5 million deaths, data from the Johns Hopkins University showed.

Gruesome numbers aside, the week’s biggest covid-related news was the United Kingdom’s decision to begin rolling out the Pfizer vaccine soon. The country has ordered enough doses for 20 million people. But Indians still have to wait long for the jab, they must guard against complacency in the wake of this positive development. The end of the struggle is still months away.

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