India Coronavirus Cases: Since the positivity rate has continued to show a declining trend, the recent surge in novel coronavirus cases in India is being attributed to an increase in the number of tests being carried out. The positivity rate gives an indication of the spread of the disease in the community. A declining positivity rate would mean that a lesser number of people are being found infected for the same number of tests being carried out. In such a scenario, while the number of new detections will rise with an increase in testing numbers, the disease is not seen to be spreading at a very fast rate.
For the last five days, India has been reporting more than 75,000 new cases every day, more than any other country has ever done. The past few weeks have also seen a big rise in the number of tests, which have been crossing the one-million mark on a few days. So the suggestion is that the surge in new detections is because of the rise in the testing numbers, and not because of faster transmission of the virus, because that would have reflected in a rise in positivity rate as well.
While this may be true at the national level, where the positivity rate is showing a marginal but steady decline since the start of this month, things seem to be slightly different in the states that are the main cause for this surge.
Four of the five states with maximum caseloads in the country, which are also powering the recent surge, are witnessing an increasing trend in their positivity rates. The only exception is Delhi right now. Three of these four, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, also have positivity rates much above the national number.
The most prominent increase in positivity rate has, not surprisingly, been in Andhra Pradesh, which has seen a two percentage point rise in the last two weeks, from about 9.5 per cent in the middle of this month to 11.5 per cent now. In Karnataka and Maharashtra, the rise has less steep, but it has been increasing nonetheless. The increase is even smaller in Uttar Pradesh.
These are also the states that are contributing the most to the surge. Maharashtra has begun reporting more than 16,000 cases every day, from a level of around 12,000 about ten days ago. Andhra Pradesh has got back to reporting more than 10,000 cases a day, a level that was achieved when it was experiencing peak growth of about 10 per cent a day. The daily number of cases had gone down to 7,000-8,000 range in the last few weeks, before the current surge. Similarly, Karnataka, which had been detecting between 5,000 and 7,000 cases till a few days ago, has begun reporting 8,000 and 9,000 cases now. Uttar Pradesh crossed the 6,000-figure mark for the first time on Sunday.
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Top ten states with maximum caseload
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Increase in tests do not fully explain the rise of cases in these states, particularly when there hasn’t been any big jump in tests in these states. In some other states like Telangana, the rise in numbers indeed seem to be powered by increase in tests.
As expected, Andhra Pradesh has now become the state with the second highest caseload in the country, after Maharashtra. The state now has more than 4.24 lakh people who have been infected with the virus at some point of time. Maharashtra has over 7.8 lakh such people.
The death toll in India now is the third largest in the world, as is the total number of cases. On both these metrics, the United States and Brazil are the only countries ahead of India. With 971 deaths reported on Sunday, India’s death count is now 64,469, which is now more than Mexico.
More than 78,500 new cases were detected on Sunday, taking the total number of people so far infected with the virus to 36.21 lakh, out of which 27.74 lakh, or over 76 per cent, have recovered from the disease.
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