An analysis by Indian researchers of districts with the most coronavirus cases has shown that high population density is significantly correlated with a higher coronavirus burden. Published on May 28 in the British Medical Journal Global Health, researchers said 67.2 per cent of coronavirus cases and 77.2 per cent mortality related to Covid-19 is concentrated in only 20 districts (2.7 per cent) of a total of 739 districts in India. These 20 districts comprise 10.5 per cent of the 1.35 billion population of India.
Experts from the Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar and Public Health Foundation of India have said that 50.8 per cent cases and 53.2 per cent coronavirus deaths are concentrated in only five cities – Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Thane, together comprising 4.4 per cent of the country’s population. India reported its first coronavirus case at the end of January and total reported cases crossed 1,58,000 with 4,534 deaths on May 27.
Researchers retrieved data from covid19india.org, a crowdsourced platform. Data for the urban population, population density and population above 60 years of age was extrapolated for 2020 using the Census of India 2001 and 2011. District level prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, obesity, adult anemia in the 15-54 years age group and the number of individuals sleeping in a room in a household were calculated using data from the National and Family Health Survey of India (2015-16).
“All cities with highest virus burden either have international airport or are financial/tourist hubs, with population density of 1,036-28,220 persons per square km in urban areas,” said Dr Ashish Awasthi, assistant professor of Biostatistics at Centre for Chronic Conditions and Injuries, Public Health Foundation of India.
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