The expected surge in novel coronavirus cases following relaxations in the nationwide lockdown looks set to begin soon, with several states showing upward deviations from their trendlines in the last few days.
Jammu and Kashmir and Haryana reported an unusually high number of new cases on Sunday; Uttar Pradesh has seen two big jumps in the last three days; Assam and Tripura have been growing at over 10 per cent every day for more than a week now; and Karnataka has risen swiftly in the last few days to make an entry into the list of top 10 states with the largest caseloads.
Other states like West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Kerala have also been adding a large number of cases every day. Tamil Nadu and Delhi, which have the country’s second and third highest caseloads respectively, have been reporting between 1,300 and 1,500 cases each every day.
In fact, at least 24 states and Union Territories (UTs) are currently growing at a rate that is faster than the national average of 4.39 per cent (7-day compounded daily growth rate).
However, three of the top five states — Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan — have been slowing down, and their combined effect has ensured a decline in the national growth rate as well. They have been aided by Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, both of which have been growing below the national average.
But the dominance of these three states may not last long. Especially since the other two in the top five, Delhi and Tamil Nadu, have already broken ranks. The share of these five states in the national caseload has already begun to decline. Till recently, these states together accounted for 74 per cent of all cases in the country. This has now come down to 68 per cent and is showing a declining trend.
The three states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan, which together accounted for 52 per cent of the total caseload till recently, now add up to 45 per cent of the cases.
Maharashtra, which alone accounted for 37 per cent of all cases in the country till about two weeks ago, has now dropped to 33 per cent.
Over a month since most of the lockdown restrictions were lifted, while the national growth rate continues to dip (the current growth rate of 4.38 per cent is the lowest since the outbreak began in March), the movement of people has triggered a growth in cases everywhere.
India coronavirus numbers explained: Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir suggest surge on cards
States which had no cases at all, or very limited cases, like Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Goa, have begun to add significant numbers every day. Others like Odisha, Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, and West Bengal have become the new growth centres.
Geographically, the disease is more evenly spread than ever before, and this process is only likely to consolidate in the coming days.
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