Where India stands in global Covid-19 spread
The graph of daily new Covid-19 cases and deaths in India has been on a decreasing trend for at least three months, after daily new cases and deaths peaked in mid-September. An average of nearly 22,000 new cases was recorded in India every day in the week ending December 27, according to HT’s Covid-19 dashboard. This is less than a quarter of the nearly 92,000 daily new cases reported on average in mid-September . This drop in new cases is not a reflection of a global trend. The daily new cases in countries such as the US and Russia continue to grow. This trend has now placed India in a better place globally in terms of the Coronavirus disease than it was three to four months ago.
India’s share of new Covid-19 cases down to 4.5%
India imposed a stringent lockdown to curb the spread of the Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in late March while its daily new cases peaked in the middle of September. India’s share of new confirmed infections in the world kept increasing every month in this period. Less than 1% of the new cases in March were reported from India while its share in new cases in September was an overwhelming 31%, which means nearly every third positive case in the world was reported in India. This is based on data compiled by the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of new cases India reported in August and September was more than any other country (the US, with half the number of new cases, was in the second position). In terms of deaths as well, India was the country with the highest number of reported Covid-19-related deaths in September.
The figures look better now. This month (upto December 27), India was behind two other countries (US and Brazil) in terms of new reported cases while it was behind seven other countries in terms of new reported deaths. India’s share of new cases decreased from 31% in September to only 4.5% in December. The country’s share of deaths fell from 20.5% in September to 3.5% this month (again, upto December 27). This means India is not as significant a contributor to global Covid-19 cases and deaths as it was in September.
India has not seen a second wave of cases
Among the five countries with the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases, India is the only one to not have seen a second wave of cases, at least as of now. It has been about 10 months since Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, and many big countries have seen multiple waves of new cases in this period. The US and the UK are in their third wave of cases while countries such as Italy, France and Spain have recently crossed their second waves. Russia seems to be near the peak of its second wave now. But the case trajectory in India shows a clear peak in mid-September followed by a continued drop in the daily new cases. There was only a brief disruption in this decreasing trend in mid-November when cases in some of India’s big states such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan started increasing again, signalling the possibility of a second wave. But that did not hold for long and cases across India continued to decrease. This has happened despite the country seeing potential superspreader events such as Diwali that was marked by large crowds gathering in marketplaces and the Bihar assembly elections.
India has a low death rate
India has the second highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the world but the country is in the third position for the total number of deaths. This gap would have been wider if only new cases and deaths are taken into account, with India being in third place by number of new cases in December and in eighth place by number of new deaths. This is because India’s case fatality rate (deaths as a share of confirmed cases) is low, in fact the lowest among 10 countries with the highest number of deaths. Nearly 148,000 people have died of Covid-19 in India, which is 1.4% of nearly 10.2 million confirmed cases so far. Among the top 10 countries, the fatality rate is the highest in Mexico, at 8.8%. The US has 87% more cases than India, but 125% more deaths. On the other hand, India has 37% more cases than Brazil but has reported 23% fewer deaths.