India’s COVID-19 infections seem to have peaked — but it is not the time to lower the guard

India’s COVID-19 infections seem to have peaked — but it is not the time to lower the guard
  • The daily COVID-19 cases count is reducing in India. Over the past 14 days, they have been significantly lower than the reported high of 90,000 cases/day in September.
  • Experts believe India may have witnessed COVID-19 peak in mid-September.
  • However, the onset of the festival season may reverse the recovery seen over the past few weeks in India.
Eight months into the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, India has witnessed a steep decline in daily average COVID-19 cases from 86,000 in late September to 64,000 in early October. New cases reported in the last 14 days are below the previous high of 90,000 per day.

India’s COVID-19 infections seem to have peaked — but it is not the time to lower the guard
John Hopkins University

There has been no reduction in the number of tests conducted in a day. India is performing 828 tests per day per million population. According to the Health Ministry, new recoveries have been more than the new cases over the last two weeks.

Since daily COVID-19 cases are increasing at a diminishing rate, the growth rate has dropped to 1.28% per day. Many states in the country, including Bihar and Tamil Nadu, have less than 1% growth rate.

COVID-19 timeline Average daily cases
September 2 to September 884,179
September 30 to October 677,113
Source: Health Ministry

The worst is not behind us yet

Experts believe India may have witnessed COVID-19 peak in mid-September when it recorded around 93,000 average daily cases. COVID-19 deaths have also declined significantly in most states in the country.

However, the festival season is around the corner in India, which may reverse all the recovery seen in the country over the last two weeks.

"There is still a lot of forest left for the virus to spread like wildfire. Let us try to keep it as a slow-burning coil. We also want to give our health care system time to replenish, recharge, restock,” Dr Bhramar Mukherjee, a professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Michigan, told BBC.

Moreover, a higher number of tests and lower cases may not be substantial bases to conclude — especially since India has been using rapid antigen tests that have 50% accuracy.
"How much of India's declining case numbers have been contributed by these rapid tests, and how much of it is a real slowdown is difficult to say," Dr Shahid Jameel, a leading virologist, told BBC.

India’s COVID-19 tally is rising
So far, India has recorded over 6.5 million cases and over a million deaths due to COVID-19 pandemic. It remains the second-worst hit COVID-19 affected nation after the US. However, India has the lowest mortality rate among the 20 worst coronavirus-hit nations. According to Johns Hopkins University, Mexico has the highest mortality rate of 10.4%, followed by Ecuador at 8.3% and the UK at 8.2%.

Worst hit nations COVID-19 mortality rate
India 1.6%
Brazil 3%
Colombia 3.1%
Source: John Hopkins University

Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit with 2,47,468 active cases followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. Ten states, including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, account for 77% of the active coronavirus cases in the country.

About 48% of the country’s COVID-19 fatalities have been reported from 25 districts in eight states.

"Of these 25 districts, 15 are in Maharashtra alone, two each in Karnataka, West Bengal and Gujarat and one each in Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh,"

Rajesh Bhushan, secretary in the Ministry of Health, told the media.

The World Health Organisation warned of a “difficult period” ahead after stating that every one in ten people in the world has COVID-19 infection. According to Dr. Michael Ryan, the vast majority of the world remains at risk.

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