India Coronavirus (Covid-19) Cases: There has been a sudden surge in novel Coronavirus cases in Telangana. The state has discovered almost 3,500 cases in the last one week, which is more than 40 per cent of its entire caseload till now.
The surge has coincided with an increase in the number of samples being tested, and the two things are not unrelated. Telangana had the lowest testing numbers in the entire country, and had to be repeatedly prodded by the High Court to increase tests. Till a week back, by June 16, the state had tested only 44, 431 samples. The first Coronavirus case in the state was detected way back on March 2. In fact, Telangana was the third state in the country to get a Coronavirus positive patient, well before Maharashtra had its first case.
But in the subsequent period, the state had been testing less than 500 samples on an average every day, when states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and even Andhra Pradesh have steadily ramped up their capacities and have now been testing between 10,000 and 20,000 samples every day. In an epidemic like the current one, the general wisdom is that the more samples are tested, the more positive cases are likely to come out. In the absence of adequate testing, therefore, Telangana’s cases were not being detected, but these were free to spread the infections to others.
It is only after severe criticism and repeated orders of the High Court that the state has finally increased the number of samples being tested. Also, for the first time, the state has started revealing its testing numbers in its daily bulletin. Telangana was the only state not to do so earlier.
In the last three days, the state has tested more than 3,000 samples every day. And, on each of these three days, the state registered a new high in the number of daily cases. On Monday, 872 new cases were detected, which were preceded by 730 on Sunday and 546 on Saturday. In fact, each of the last six days has produced a new peak in terms of daily detections.
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The lack of adequate testing had led to a situation in which, for an extended period in the middle of May, Telangana had been reporting new cases in single digits. Its growth had become the slowest among states with any significant caseload. However, with the increase in testing, Telangana is likely to emerge as one of the biggest trouble spots in the country in the next few days. Already, the growth rate (7-day compounded daily growth rate) in the state has jumped to 7.60, more than double the current national rate.
Delhi is another trouble spot which is giving rise to serious concern. The city reported close to 3,000 new cases on Monday, taking its total number of infections to 62,655. It is growing at the fastest rate among the top ten states, and has added close to 20,000 cases in the last one week alone, almost one-third of its entire caseload. At this rate, within a couple of days, it is likely to overtake Mumbai as the city with the maximum caseload. Mumbai had a total of 67,635 cases on Monday, and has been growing at a much slower pace than Delhi. The national capital overtook Tamil Nadu on Sunday to become the state with the second largest number of cases.
Top ten states with maximum caseload
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On Monday, the Delhi government said it will provide oxymeters, a medical device to measure oxygen levels in patients, to everyone who has been placed under home isolation, for which about one lakh oxymeters were being procured. The state government said patients can also call on a helpline number and ask for an oxygen support system to be sent to home in case the oxygen levels dip.
The Delhi High Court also stepped in to ask the Delhi government to increase the number of rapid antigen tests that have recently been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research as another method to diagnose the presence of Coronavirus. Rapid antigen tests do not require sophisticated laboratory environment, like the traditional RT-PCR tests that are being used for confirmation of infection, and also produce the results more quickly.
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government has re-imposed a lockdown in several areas of Madurai district. Chennai and three neighbouring districts are already under a 12-day lockdown till the end of this month. These area are driving up the numbers for the state, which now has a caseload of over 62,000.
A lockdown at the ward level is being proposed in Guwahati as well. The number of Coronavirus cases in Assam has slowed down a bit, but in Guwahati several cases have emerged in which the original source of infection is not clear.
On Monday, more than 14,000 new cases were detected across the country, taking the total caseload to more than 4.4 lakh. Almost 2.5 lakh of these have already recovered from the disease.
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