As the Covid count increases across the country, touching the 2-lakh figure Tuesday, a small silver lining has emerged. For the first time in nearly two months, the growth rate of infections in Maharashtra has slowed to fall below that of the country as a whole.
The seven-day compounded daily growth rate (CDGR) for Maharashtra has remained below the national average for three consecutive days now.
This trend may not endure as the spread gets wider but it is significant. For, the rate in Maharashtra has been declining for over two weeks now. And because the state accounts for more than a third of the national caseload in the country, this has slowed down the national growth rate as well.
On June 1, Maharashtra’s 7-day CDGR was 4.15 per cent while that of the country as a whole was 4.74 per cent. As a result, the current doubling time of cases in Maharashtra is 17.35 days, comfortably longer than 15.18 days for India as a whole.
Around mid-May, Maharashtra was growing between 6.5 and 7 per cent every day, while the national growth rate was about one per cent lower than that. The two growth rates have been coming down steadily since then.
If this trend holds, there could be a further drop in the growth rate at the national level. That would not, however, mean a reduction in the number of cases detected every day. That number would continue to rise but it would rise at a slower rate.
As of now, for the last three to four days, India is adding around 8,000 cases daily. If the growth rate was stable, and not slowing down, this number would keep increasing every day. Instead, the number of new cases each day remains within a small range for about a week or so, before rising to a new level.
Along with the slowing of the growth rate, Maharashtra’s contribution to the national caseload is also showing a decreasing trend. Between May 15 and May 25, Maharashtra was, almost every day, contributing more than 40 per cent of all the cases detected in India.
This was much more than what it was doing on an average during the months of March and April and first half of May when the state was accounting for 25 to 35 per cent of the daily increase in the country’s caseload. In the last one week, the same level is being achieved once again.
This could either be because of the slowdown in Maharashtra, or a faster growth in rest of India. In the last few days, a major surge in cases has happened in states with relatively small caseloads as of now – Haryana, Assam, Bihar, Odisha, apart from smaller states like Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Tripura. In absolute terms, therefore, their contribution to the national caseload has not increased substantially.
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