India Coronavirus Cases: In the last one week, Andhra Pradesh has contributed more number of novel Coronavirus cases than any other state in India, except Maharashtra. The state has added more than 40,000 new patients during this time, which is half of its entire caseload of about 81,000.
The explosion of infections in Andhra Pradesh is rather curious. The state was always one of the front-runners in testing, and that means it would have been possible to identify and isolate the infected patients quite early on. In fact, till the end of last month, the state seemed to have a reasonable control over the epidemic. It had tested as many as 8.9 lakh samples by that time, more than every state except Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, and found 14,595 positive cases. That meant a positivity rate of just 1.6 per cent, one of the lowest in the country at the time.
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In the next 24 days of this month, however, the positivity rate has jumped to 10.17 per cent. Just over 6.5 lakh additional tests have been carried out during this period, and 66,263 positive cases were discovered.
It is now being suggested that Andhra Pradesh could have squandered some of the advantages of early testing due to the lack of adequate and effective isolation and containment strategies. Its current growth rate, of over 10 per cent per day, is unprecedented for a state that already has a very high caseload.
Andhra Pradesh’s situation came up for discussion at a meeting that the central government held on Friday with nine states that are currently growing at a very fast pace. Apart from Andhra Pradesh, the situation in Karnataka, Telangana, Bihar, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, and Jharkhand was also assessed. Except Telangana and Uttar Pradesh, all these states are growing at more than 5 per cent per day (7-day compounded daily growth rate), when the national growth rate is only about 3.6 per cent.
The situation is very similar in Telangana and Uttar Pradesh as well, though their current growth rates are slightly lower.
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The Cabinet Secretary is learnt to have told these states that by now, the protocols and measures to be taken to contain the spread of the disease were very well understood, and only lack of effective implementation could be resulting in the kind of surges that are being seen in these states. The experience of Karnataka shows that even a reasonable stable situation could slide down into a crisis.
Andhra Pradesh, in fact, now seems to be a deeper crisis than Karnataka. On Friday, the state reported more than 8,000 cases. That many cases are usually reported only by Maharashtra which has four times higher caseload. At this rate, Andhra Pradesh could even overtake Karnataka in a couple of days. Karnataka itself is in a midst of a big surge. On Friday, it once again reported over 5,000 new cases. Its total caseload has now reached almost 86,000.
The only consolation in Andhra Pradesh right now seems to be that the death figures are still relatively low in the state. Andhra Pradesh has reported 933 deaths till now which is considerably lower than not just Karnataka but also Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal.
Top ten states with maximum caseload:
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Meanwhile, Bihar is all set to move into the top-ten list of states with maximum caseloads over the weekend. The state added more than 1,800 cases on Friday, and now has over 33,500 cases, only marginally lower than Rajasthan, which has been adding a lot fewer cases every day. More than 23,000 of Bihar’s present caseload, about 70 per cent, has been detected in this month itself.
Almost 49,000 new cases were detected across the country on Friday, the second consecutive day when this number has stopped just short of touching the 50,000-figure mark. So far, 13.36 lakh people have been found to be infected with the novel Coronavirus in India, out of which 8.49 people have already recovered from the disease. More than 31,000 people have so far died. The number of deaths being reported every day is rising steadily. For the last couple of days, this number has been over 700.