India coronavirus cases: There is an unusual consistency in the daily number of new cases of novel coronavirus infections reported by Tamil Nadu for the last one month.
On 23 days in August, the state reported between 5,800 and 6,000 cases every day, leading to an almost flat-line curve for daily numbers in the month of August (see graph below).
Other states reporting comparable numbers, like Uttar Pradesh or Karnataka or Bihar showed much greater fluctuations in their daily numbers. So did the country as whole, which reported between 50,000 and 80,000 new cases a day during August.
This kind of consistency in daily discovery of new cases was not seen even in Tamil Nadu in the previous months. One of the reasons could be a similar consistency in the number of tests being carried out. The other reason could be that the laboratories in the state have the ability to process only that many tests every day. The daily testing numbers have remained more or less constant in Tamil Nadu during the month of August, though not with the same kind of regularity that is seen in the number of positive cases. Read this story in Tamil
Similar trends were observed in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in the month of May, when these states had also been reporting numbers that fell in very narrow ranges for a prolonged period. Compared to many other states, these three still have much lesser fluctuations in their daily numbers, but it is no longer what it was in the month of May.
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The daily fluctuations, while being a function of the number of tests being carried out, are also a result of an inherent randomness in finding positive cases. The fluctuations would be lesser where tests are targeted only at high-risk groups, and more if people to be tested are being selected randomly.
After showing a drop on Monday, most probably because of the usual decline in the number of tests on Sunday, the daily number of new cases jumped up again on Tuesday. More than 78,000 new cases were discovered throughout the country on Tuesday, in line with what was being detected for five days before Monday’s dip. The death count has crossed 66,000 now.
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