Notwithstanding the lockdown, India is still seeing a rapid case growth

Summary

During the on-going COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, India has been hit hard by the humanitarian crisis. As of May 13, 2020, India reported 74,292 positive cases, including 2,415 deaths. Despite a nationwide lockdown, the country has been experiencing a significant increase in the number of cases and deaths since the beginning of April. On a positive note, COVID-19 doubling time continues to improve for both cases and deaths in India. With India entering into the 8th week of nationwide lockdown, we take a look at the trends related to COVID-19.

India’s COVID-19 curve yet to show a downward trend

As of May 13, 2020, India completed 50 days of nationwide lockdown, aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19, but new infections continue to be reported. While it is true that India acted proactively, the number of cases and deaths are rising every day, creating new records. India reported its first confirmed Covid-19 positive case on January 30 and first death on March 13. As of May 13, 2020, the number of confirmed cases and deaths stands at 74,292 and 2,415, respectively.

Note: ECDC- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

The country has been seeing a steep rise in daily COVID-19 cases and deaths since the beginning of April and more so over the past two weeks. India added over 41,000 cases in the first two weeks of May- a rise of 125%. The country reported its highest single-day rise of 4,213 positive cases on May 11. It also saw the highest number of COVID-19 deaths of 195 in a day on May 5. The surge in cases over the last two weeks is concerning, as India has just begun to ease the lockdown restrictions.

Note: ECDC- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Major COVID-19 hotspot states in India

As of May 14, 2020, Maharashtra alone accounts for one-third of Covid-19 cases in India, with a total of 25,922 positive cases. Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Delhi have also emerged as worrying COVID-19 hotspots, with a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases in these states around the end of March. Currently, their total tally stands at 9,227, 9,267, and 7,998, respectively. Among these major hotspots of Covid-19 in India, Gujarat has the highest death-to-cases ratio of 6%, while Tamil Nadu has the least death-to-cases ratio of less than 1%.

 

The bright spot amidst the worrying trend

The COVID-19 doubling time numbers provide an optimistic picture despite a recent steep rise in cases. The doubling time is an indicator of how quickly cases and deaths are increasing. The confirmed COVID-19 cases in India are now taking a longer time to double than before the lockdown. In the beginning, there was rapid growth with numbers of cases doubling on an average every 3 days, but it started to improve after the lockdown. As of May 13, the number of cases now doubles every 12 days. The Doubling time of deaths also saw a similar pattern of improvement and is currently at 14 days.

India’s recent rise in cases is a spot of bother in terms of both the economy and healthcare. Going forward, we can expect the growth rate of cases to rise further with the government's latest announcement of lockdown extension, which is expected to be a relaxed one with various restrictions lifted.