Covid-19: What you need to know today
India registered, in the first eight days of July, nearly a fourth of the total Covid-19 cases it has seen till July 8.
Two out of every three currently active cases were registered in these eight days (which is understandable, because it indicates a surge in cases in recent days, and also that a high number of older cases have been resolved — which one would expect with a recovery rate of 62% — but still interesting), as were around 18% of all deaths from the coronavirus disease. There’s a lag of roughly two weeks in the correspondence between cases and deaths, so it will probably make sense to look at deaths between July 14 and July 21 to understand if the country is becoming better at saving lives.
India saw 25,724 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, its highest single-day tally thus far. The number of new cases has increased sharply, from around 10,000 in the middle of June to in excess of 22,000 every day this week. There isn’t a similar pattern with deaths — which is, again, understandable — but the number has steadily climbed. The number of daily deaths was in the 300s in mid-June. It has largely been in the late 400s this week.
Clearly, India, as a whole, isn’t flattening any curve right now. Nor, for that matter, is the US, which, like India, is seeing daily records in terms of new cases.
But Delhi appears to be — or, at the least, it is showing early signs of doing so. In the first eight days of July, the city registered a sixth of the total Covid-19 cases it has seen till July 8.
In Delhi’s case, three out of every four currently active cases were registered in the first eight days of July — which means the city has a better record at resolving older cases than the country as a whole (as reflected in its recovery rate of 75%).
The Capital has seen a rise and a fall in this period. From somewhere in the 2,000s in mid-June, the number of daily cases soared to over 3,000 in the last week of the month before dipping to the early 2,000s this week. Just as with India, there isn’t as clear a pattern with deaths, although two days this week have seen numbers in the 40s, the lowest since mid-June.
One reason for this is the city’s high testing rate.
What about Tamil Nadu, a state that has been as aggressive as Delhi with testing? Like Delhi, it too has managed to bring its positivity rate, or the proportion of people testing positive to those tested, down from its peak. (Regions that do so are clearly testing adequately, because only that will result in positivity rates first plateauing, and then declining).
In the first eight days of July, the state registered a little more than a fourth of the total Covid-19 cases till July 8.
And almost 70% of currently active cases were registered in the first eight days of July, highlighting the surge of cases that Tamil Nadu has witnessed in this period, as well as its record at resolving older cases (60% — lower than the corresponding number for both Delhi and India as a whole).
The state has seen a sharp increase in number of new cases in this period — the numbers are off their peaks seen last week, but still in the late 3000s, higher than in mid-June. The trend is a bit muddied when it comes to daily deaths, but that number rose to the mid-60s by late June, and have stayed there.
Tamil Nadu is not flattening the curve by any measure.
It’s possible that while the state has increased the depth of its testing, it hasn’t increased the width — unlike Delhi, which launched rapid antigen tests for everyone in a containment zone (and not just those who met the stringent testing criteria).
That is an important lesson. Broad-based random testing of anyone willing and wanting to be tested is the way ahead.