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Home / India News / How Covid-19 has gripped India’s urban centres

How Covid-19 has gripped India’s urban centres

A look at the factors that explain how the coronavirus pandemic has gripped India’s main urban centres

india Updated: Oct 02, 2020, 10:24 IST
Jamie Mullick
Jamie Mullick
Hindustan Times
One in every seven cases in the country can be traced to just these four cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai
One in every seven cases in the country can be traced to just these four cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai(REUTERS)

In the first six months of the Covid-19 outbreak in India, three cities – Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai – were the main urban epicentres of the disease. But a massive spike in cases in Bengaluru through September has propelled the southern city to the second spot ahead of Mumbai and Chennai. While one in every seven cases in the country can be traced to just these four metropolitan hotspots, they have fared much worse in terms of death – one in every five deaths in India has been in these cities. A look at four factors that explain how the pandemic has gripped India’s urban centres.

Cases still rising alarmingly in Mumbai and Bengaluru

Delhi remains, by a large margin, the country’s worst-hit city (279,715 infections as of Sept 30), but it appears to have started bringing under control its daily case trajectory for the second time. At its peak (so far), the seven day average of daily cases in the city touched 4,174 on September 17.

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Since then, this number has dropped to 3,275 (Sept 30). Bengaluru, meanwhile, saw a massive spike in cases in the past few weeks and is now the city with the second highest number of cases in India.

In Mumbai, the case trajectory has touched new highs in September, and appears to be rising still. Chennai is the only city among the four metros that has seen a big drop from its peak – average daily cases have dropped 40% from the peak recorded in early July.

Mumbai’s CFR significantly worse than others

By a large margin, Mumbai has been the country’s worst-hit city in terms of deaths due to Covid-19. As on Wednesday, out of the 205,268 infections reported in the city, 8,929 people have lost their lives — the highest number of deaths of any city. This also translates to a case fatality rate (CFR) – the proportion of deaths to the total number of confirmed cases – of 4.3%, again the worst among the metropolitan cities listed here.

Chennai has reported 3,207 deaths from 167,376 cases till Wednesday. While it has the second-worst CFR (2.6%), in absolute numbers it has the lowest deaths among these cities. In fact, in terms of total deaths, Pune has more fatalities than Chennai and Bengaluru. The average CFR across the country is 1.6%, Bengaluru (CFR of 1.3%) is the only city that has so far performed better.

Bengaluru’s active cases alarmingly high

Active cases is a statistic that does not paint a good picture for Bengaluru. The IT hub (47,145 active cases as on Wednesday) has 43% more active cases than Delhi (26,908), which is on second spot. To be sure, Bengaluru’s case outbreak is a lot more recent than other metros listed here, and the daily recoveries are yet to catch up to the spike in cases.

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Active cases – those still under treatment – is a key metric because it directly reflects the pressure on the health care system in any region. It is calculated by subtracting the number of recovered patients and deaths from the total tally. With 26,663 active cases, Mumbai is close on the heels of Delhi. Pune (16,545 active cases) is the city with the fourth-highest number of active cases in the country , ahead of Chennai (11,323).

The district of Pune (57,298 active cases) is the one with the highest number of active cases in the country, followed by Bengaluru and Thane. Out of the seven districts with the highest number of active cases, five are from Maharashtra – a statistic that highlights the sheer magnitude of the outbreak in the worst-hit state in the country.

By districts, Pune worst-hit by a large margin

When looking at the country’s worst-hit districs, we see Pune is country’s worst-hit region with 293,064 confirmed cases as of Wednesday. Delhi with 279,715 total infections comes close .

Most major metropolitan cities in the country are districts by themselves – with the exception of Delhi, which consists of 11 revenue districts, but has been taken as a single unit as the state government does not release district-wise data. Similarly, district wise breakup of cases was not available for some states such as Telangana and Assam.

One out of every four cases reported in the country can be traced to the 10 worst-hit districts. The four metropolitan cities — Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai — all feature in this.

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