FOR THE first time since the outbreak of Covid-19 in India, the number of ‘recovered’ cases exceeded the number of ‘active’ cases on Wednesday.
“As many as 5,991 patients were cured of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours. This takes the total number of patients recovered to 1,35,205, while the total number of active cases is now 1,33,632. For the first time, the total number of recovered patients has exceeded the active cases. The recovery rate now stands at 48.88%,” the health ministry said in a statement.
An analysis of the 1,42,950 ‘closed cases’ shows that while 1,35,205 have recovered (94.5%), 7,745 have died.
With 9,985 new cases and 274 deaths being reported in the last 24 hours, the total case count is now 2,76,583. The total number of tests carried out so far is 50,61,332, of which 1,45,216 samples were tested in the last 24 hours.
An analysis of the data since April 19 shows that the number of recoveries trailed behind the number of daily cases till May 29, when the gap started narrowing with an upswing in the recovery graph and a downswing in the active cases. However, it remains to be seen whether this trend sustains or not.
Experts said a comparison of the cumulative data of active and recovered cases may not give a correct picture of the course of the pandemic. The number of daily deaths may be a more reliable metric, they said.
“Whether this is a significant statistic or not will depend on the time period you are looking at. It may not mean too much if you are looking at cumulative figures. However, if the death rate starts coming down, then that is significant,” said Dr K Srinath Reddy, member, ICMR Covid task force, and president, Public Health Foundation of India.
“Internationally, countries such as Spain and Italy are opening up as the death rate shows a consistent dip. The recovery rate is meaningful at any stage of the epidemic if it is reported on the closed cases rather than on all cases, many of whom may still be on the road to recovery,” said Dr Reddy.
Globally, the number of active cases (about 34,50,000) is almost 70,000 more than the recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Most of the countries with a high case load have more recovered cases than active cases. The United States is an exception, with active cases surpassing the number of recoveries by over 800,000.
Among the 50 countries with the highest case count, India has the 29th highest recovery rate, according to Johns Hopkins University. The recovery rate in Germany is 91%, Turkey 84%, Israel 83%, Iran 78%, Italy 71%, Spain 62%, and Russia 49%.
In terms of case fatality rate, India is 25th (2.8%). The fatality rate in Israel is 1.6%, Germany 4.7%, Iran 4.8%, US 5.6%, and Italy 14.4%.
Even as the gap between the number of recovered and active cases is narrowing, the World Health Organisation has cautioned that this is not the time for “complacency”. Stating that 75% of the cases are coming from the Americas and South Asia even as Europe improves, it said that “most people globally are still susceptible to the virus”.
Meanwhile, central teams are being deputed to provide technical support to state health departments and municipal health officials in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru. The teams will visit these cities within a week to review public health measures being undertaken for Covid-19.