India coronavirus cases: For the first time in more than three months, the novel coronavirus numbers in Maharashtra have now started to grow at a faster rate than the country as a whole. The daily growth rate (seven-day compounded rate) in Maharashtra has gone up to 2.21 per cent, while at the national level this has remained at 2.14 per cent.
The increase in daily growth rate has been the result of big jump in the number of daily detection of new cases in Maharashtra in the last three weeks. From a level of about 10,000 to 12,000 cases per day, Maharashtra has beginning to report more than 20,000 cases now. Maharashtra has been the main driver for the surge in national numbers as well. In the last two weeks, India has begun to report more than 75,000 cases per day, even reaching 90,000 cases over the past weekend.
The rise in Maharashtra’s growth rate is significant because of the huge influence the state has on the trajectory of coronavirus numbers in India. At one point of time, Maharashtra accounted for nearly 40 per cent of all cases in India. That share has gone down to just over 20 per cent now, but it still is big enough to guide the national curve along with it. That means that if Maharashtra continues to grow like this for a few more days, we would soon start seeing a rise in the national growth rate as well.
The national growth rate has been steadily going down since the middle of May, though there have been phases in which it has shown an upward trend for a few days. There have been phases when more than 25 states were showing growth rates more than the national rate, and yet the national rate continued to decline, because Maharashtra was declining. It now seems that Maharashtra would drive the national growth rate upwards after a long time.
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Maharashtra itself seems to be driven by Pune, which has been reporting more than 4,000 cases for the last few days, the highest in the country. The total number of infections in Pune crossed the 2-lakh mark on Monday. Its infection count is not just more than any other city in the country, it is also more than every state except the top five with maximum caseloads.
But there are now many more growth centres in Maharashtra, compared to earlier when Mumbai and Pune together accounted for more than 70 per cent of all cases in the state. Even now these two cities account for almost 40 per cent of Maharashtra’s caseload, but several other hotspots have emerged in the state now. Nagpur, for example, now has almost 40,000 people infected with the disease, and it is adding between 1,200 and 1,500 cases every day, not much less than what Mumbai has been doing. Nashik, Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara and Aurangabad are some of the other cities which are contributing large number of cases, and also reporting lots of deaths every day.
But the recent trends in Delhi show that Pune’s unenviable position as the city with the highest caseload in the country would be challenged. Delhi has begun to report an increasing number of new cases every day, and though it is still less than what Pune is reporting these days, the gap is closing. Delhi right now has 1.93 lakh confirmed cases, about 10,000 less than Pune.
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As usual, the drop in tests on Sunday dragged the daily number of new detections in the country down on Monday. Less than 76,000 new cases were discovered on Monday, when two days before that the daily count had crossed 90,000. Only 7.2 lakh samples were tested on Sunday, compared to the usual number of more than 10 lakh a day. The testing numbers returned to normal on Monday, with almost 11 lakh samples getting tested. That took the total number tests carried out in India to more than 50 million, or five crore. China has carried out 160 million tests till now, while the United States had done 88 million.
The total number of people who have so far been infected with the virus in India has reached 42.80 lakh, out of which more than 33.23 lakh, or about 78 per cent, have recovered from the disease. The death count is close to 73,000 now.
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