It might not be evident just by looking at the numbers but West Bengal is right now the state with the fastest-growing cases of the novel Coronavirus. West Bengal has reported only 696 cases as of Wednesday evening, but both its doubling rate, as well as the reproduction number, are among the highest for any state with a significant number of cases.
The growth rate of infections in West Bengal during the period April 23 to April 27 has been such that it would amount to a doubling of caseload every 7.13 days. This is significantly faster than most other major states, which, with the exception of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, have doubling rates of more than ten days. Kerala is growing at a rate that would double its cases in 37 days, while Telangana, which has shown a surprising slowdown in the last one week, has a current doubling time of 58 days.
Similarly, West Bengal has a current reproduction number of 1.52, much higher than the national average of 1.29. Reproduction number refers to the number of persons being infected on an average by an already-infected person. In West Bengal’s case, it means every 100 persons were infecting 152 others, as of now. Among bigger states, only Jharkhand and Bihar have larger reproduction numbers, according to an analysis by scientists at the Chennai-based Institute of Mathematical Sciences, but these two states had a significantly lesser caseload compared to even West Bengal.
However, in the overall numbers as of now, West Bengal does not appear to be a threat. It still barely has two per cent of the national caseload.
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Rather, it is Maharashtra and Gujarat, and also Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh, that are contributing the maximum numbers. As on Wednesday evening, the total number of confirmed cases in India was on the verge of crossing the 33,000-figure mark. Slightly less than eight thousand of them had recovered, which means the number of active cases was just over 25,000. Active cases the ones currently infected, and these the ones who can transmit the virus to others.
There was an increase of 1685 cases on Wednesday, and as usual, nearly 80 per cent of these were accounted for just by the five biggest contributors of the day – Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
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Maharashtra added another 597 cases to reach 9915, while Gujarat, which has shown a big surge in the last ten days, crossed the 4000 figure mark, with the addition of 308 cases on Wednesday.