Covid-19: What you need to know today - india news

This is the story of seven states: Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh.

It is a dated story, but not too old – dated midnight Sunday, April 19, just before parts of India opened up for some business activities. At the time, these seven states accounted for 77.44% of all coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients and 81.89% of all Covid-19 deaths in the country.

They were also the only states at the time with an infection count exceeding 1,000.

Andhra Pradesh (647 cases on Sunday) and Telangana (858) look likely to join them, but it is safe to say that the six states named in the first instance are key to India’s ability to halt the spread of Covid-19.

The only other concern is West Bengal , which is a clear straggler among large states in terms of testing (56 tests per million population based on Sunday’s data), but we will revisit the state when there’s better data coming out of it.

Here’s a quick snapshot on how the seven states compare on key parameters.

Madhya Pradesh’s number of cases for the preceding 24 hours is low because the state put out only one bulletin, in the middle of the day on Sunday.

With the caveat that the timeline of infections in each of the seven states is different – many of the infections in Gujarat, for instance, are recent; most of those in Tamil Nadu relate to people who attended the Tablighi Jamaat’s March congregation in Delhi, and promptly reported to the local health department when a call went out – there are some clear trends.

With the exception of Uttar Pradesh, which is a laggard, and Madhya Pradesh, which is on the border, the other five states all test more than the national average (309 tests per million). A previous time series analysis by Hindustan Times showed that in general, across states, the number of cases increased with the number of tests (although the proportion of those testing positive didn’t necessarily increase, and actually decreased in most). As states test more, that article reasoned, they are likely to find more people infected with the Sars-CoV-2 virus which causes Covid-19 (including many asymptomatic ones).

Even the most aggressive testers among these states have clearly not reached a level where the discovery rate is consistently falling. For instance, Maharashtra conducted 4,555 tests on Sunday. It also discovered 552 new cases on Sunday. The two aren’t related because the tests for the 552 found infected on Sunday were likely carried out on Saturday or Friday, but clearly the discovery rate isn’t dipping. It seemed to be in Tamil Nadu, where only 49 cases were discovered on Saturday and 56 on Friday, but 105 were on Sunday (a day when 5,744 tests were conducted in the state). As these and other states expand their testing this week, this will be the number to track: daily infections per tests conducted.

The other number to keep track of is the death rate (Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan are doing a good job of keeping it below the national average of 3.2%). Tamil Nadu’s performance isn’t a surprise (the other two are) because the state has always had a good health care system. It also leads in terms of recoveries – 27.8% compared to the national average of 16.52%. This too is a good number to track – as on Sunday, 2,852 people of the 17,252 infected had recovered.

2020-04-20 11:06:32
April 20, 2020