India overtook Russia on Sunday evening to become the country with the third largest caseload of novel coronavirus infection in the world. Only the United States and Brazil now have more infections than India.
Late on Sunday evening, the global coronavirus database of Johns Hopkins University showed Russia had a little over 6.8 lakh cases. By the time the last reports came in from state governments, India’s total caseload had gone past 6.97 lakh.
The US had more than 28 lakh cases, while Brazil had close to 16 lakh on Sunday evening, according to the Johns Hopkins database.
For the last four days, India has been adding more than 20,000 cases every day. On Sunday, close to 24,000 new cases were detected throughout the country.
This latest surge has been powered by a sharp rise in case numbers in the southern states, most notably in Telangana and Karnataka, which have been contributing more than 1,500 cases each for the last three days.
On Sunday, Karnataka reported 1,925 new infections, while Telangana found 1,590. These states now have more than 23,000 cases each. In Telangana, about 9,500 of these have come in the past week; Karnataka has added over 10,000 during this time.
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The caseloads of all five southern states – Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana – are currently growing faster than the national growth rate (seven-day compounded daily growth rate, or CDGR). The current CDGR for Telangana and Karnataka are the highest in the country.
The combined contribution of the five southern states in the national caseload is for the first time more than 25 per cent now. Their share has been rising since the beginning of June, when it was about 17.5 per cent, but has accelerated in the last two weeks due to the surge in Karnataka and Telangana.
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The rapid rise in Telangana can be directly attributed to an increase in testing. Till about three weeks ago, the state was testing just a few hundred samples, which has now been ramped up to about 4,000 every day.
Tamil Nadu, which has the second highest caseload in the country, has been growing at a slightly slower pace, but has still been adding more than 4,000 cases every day for the last one week.
Andhra Pradesh is also showing signs of a surge, although its daily new detections are still below 1,000.
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The exception to the southern surge has been Kerala, which has the lowest caseload and growth rate among the five states. It has just over 5,400 confirmed infections so far, and its current growth rate is the lowest among southern states, though still a little higher than the national rate.
Maharashtra is still contributing the most cases every day. On Saturday, it reported more than 7,000 new cases for the first time, taking the state’s total to more than 2 lakh cases. On Sunday, the daily number came down to 6,555, but was still the highest in the country.
However, Maharashtra is growing slower than the national rate, and its contribution in the national caseload is declining steadily. At the beginning of June, the state accounted for more than 35 per cent of India’s entire caseload. That number has now come down to less than 30 per cent.
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