India sees biggest jump in new coronavirus cases but recoveries hit 20,000

Updated on May 11, 2020 02:05 AM IST

Studies have shown that after recovery — globally, 35% of the total patients have so far recovered — nearly all people develop antibodies, which could give them protection against the infection.

Indian nationals, who were stranded in Singapore due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, are screened by medics wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) at the airport upon their arrival in New Delhi, India.(REUTERS)
Indian nationals, who were stranded in Singapore due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, are screened by medics wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) at the airport upon their arrival in New Delhi, India.(REUTERS)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

The number of people who have so far recovered after contracting the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the country crossed 20,000 on Sunday, with a recuperating rate of 31.2%, or about one in every three patients, even as the number of infections of Sars-CoV-2 crossed 67,000.

Studies have shown that after recovery — globally, 35% of the total patients have so far recovered — nearly all people develop antibodies, which could give them protection against the infection. Public health experts have warned against the stigmatisation of Covid-19 patients, even as research shows that about 80% of all patients across the world develop mild or no symptoms.

Of the 67,085 Covid-19 cases, at least 44,000 patients are undergoing treatment at various hospitals across the country. In the last 24 hours, 1,736 people were confirmed as recovered — the biggest jump so far — even as 4,370 fresh infections were added to the national tally, the highest single-day spike. The recovery rate on April 10 was 10.3%, improving to 31.2% in a month.

“The recovery rate shows that almost one-third of the infected persons have recovered in India. It is a positive sign as it is increasing by the day,” Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, Union health ministry, said recently.

The rate of increase of Covid-19 cases in the country has, however, increased over the past week, with the doubling rate, which stood at 11.5 on May 3, reducing to 10.6 on Sunday. The last 10,000 cases of the infection, which has halted life across continents, came in just three days in India.

The ratio of the number of Covid-19 cases recovering in relation to the number of people dying of the viral infection has shown improvement. Data collected from official bulletins from states shows the ratio to be 9:1 – for every 10 deaths, 90 people have recovered from the disease. In mid-April, the ratio was 8:2.

“The increase in the recovery rate will go hand in glove with the increase in the number of cases for a while. That is because Covid-19 is a novel infection and it will spread till the population gets immunity against the virus. Now, as for how many people will get infected before there is herd immunity, the estimates vary from anywhere between 30% of the population to 70%. The reason for a high recovery rate is that 90% to 95% of the infections are either mild to moderately symptomatic or asymptomatic,” said Dr Jugal Kishore, head of the department of community medicine at the Safdarjung Hospital.

“What the high recovery rate shows is that the infection is not highly fatal in the Indian population; we are capable of managing the infection, and the treatment protocols are working,” he added.

Experts say implementing a complete national lockdown has yielded results in the form of significant improvement in India’s case doubling rate. While the number stood at 3.4 days before the restrictions kicked in, it went up to 11.5 on May 3. It, however, has come down to 10.6, indicating a quickening of infections. On average, India has reported about 3,500 new cases every day over the last week.

Of the states that have reported more than 1,000 cases, the highest recovery rate is in Telangana, where 62.8% of the patients are now Covid-19-free. This is followed by Rajasthan, where over 58% of those who were infected have recovered, and Andhra Pradesh, where almost 46.7% have recovered.

Kerala’s battle against the respiratory illness has shown promise. Only 20 people of the total 512 cases so far are currently designated as active infections. The state has reported only three deaths so far.

Maharashtra, which has the highest number of cases, 22,171, has one of the lowest recovery rates of 18.9% in the country.

Tamil Nadu and Delhi have managed to keep the number of deaths low despite a surge in cases initially linked to the Nizamuddin gathering of the Tablighi Jamaat. Delhi’s recovery rate of 29.9% is similar to the national figure.

On Sunday, Delhi recorded 381 new cases, taking the total tally to 6,923.

A third of Rajasthan’s 33 districts now have either no or up to two active cases. According to the state health department’s data, two districts have zero active cases, five have one each, and two have two active cases each. Two districts – Bundi and Sriganganagar – have not reported any case since the outbreak in Rajasthan in the last week of March.

Urban hot spots across the country remain the biggest challenge in India’s battle against the disease, which had overwhelmed health care infrastructure across countries, including many metropolises even across the developed world.

Maharashtra, Delhi and Gujarat are the three worst affected states by the disease. On Sunday, Maharashtra reported 1,943 cases, while the national capital added 381 cases. In Gujarat, which has requested All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) director Dr Randeep Guleria to fly to the state to assist in disease management, 398 people were infected by the pathogen on Sunday.

The number of tests performed to detect patients of the new disease was 1.6 million on Sunday, as the government indicated that it intended to scale up its testing capacity to 100,000 diagnoses per day. The development came after experts expressed concern over low testing numbers and limited scope, which they said could lead to the disease spreading undetected.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Anonna Dutt is a health reporter at Hindustan Times. She reports on Delhi government’s health policies, hospitals in Delhi, and health-related feature stories.

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