India Fight Against Coronavirus: Observation from 12th June 2020 Data

A few observations from 12th June 2020 (National Data) on coronavirus pandemic:-

1. COVID19 new case count increased by 11,314 on 12th June 2020. The 3-days average has increased to 11,201. The 7 days and 14 days averages increased to 10,500 and 9,722 new case counts respectively. These moving averages must start falling to reverse the trend which looks a distant dream till the third week of July 2020. From the district level data, it is evident that coronavirus has reached the rural districts which were almost unaffected but slowly, numbers of positive as well as active cases in these rural districts are falling sharply. In specific areas of Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, community transmission has become an unfortunate reality. States can control the spread with strict policies in these hotspots. Whatever economic cost lockdown may have but locking down these hotspots strictly is the only way to stop the community transmission of the corona as well as to break the chain. From the data, it seems that the daily case counts would increase to 15,000 in the next two weeks. But at the same time it is also expected once daily count increases to 15,000 mark, the peak of the corona curve will be reached and the growth in daily count will stagnate. From there a downward trend is expected. But the daily count of 15,000 will sustain for many weeks.

2. Daily growth rate of the active cases increased to 2.57% while the 7 days growth rates decreased to 3.36% on 12th June 2020. 7-days growth must keep on falling to flatten the swelling corona curve. This will enable the healthcare system to respond better to the pandemic.

3. The doubling period of active cases has increased to 21 days on 12th June 2020 with 7-days growth rate to 3.36%. 7-days growth rate indicates that active cases are expected to grow at a lower rate but increasing positivity rate is cause of concern and if positivity rate does not fall, this downward trend can reverse anytime.

4. Doubling period of the confirmed cases was 16.8 days with a growth rate of 4.2% on 12th June 2020. The incremental decline in the growth rate continues increasing the doubling period for long. This trend is good but this decline in growth rate should fall sharply for a trend reversal.

5. The gap between the confirmed and active cases per million is widening everyday at an increasing rate and has doubled. This is a relief as the stronger recovery rate would ease the increasing pressure on the very limited healthcare infrastructure and services. In the last six weeks, daily testing capacity has increased from an average of 5,000 to an average of more than 1,50,000 tests.

6. The overall positivity rate has been consistently increasing. It increased to 5.62%. The daily positivity rate has been volatile and increased on 12th June 2020 to 7.87%. These two key indicators indicate that the fear of community transmission is becoming a reality now. To flatten the corona curve, India needs to reverse this upward trend and only testing would not suffice. India needs to strictly follow the social distancing norms to break the chain. When the economy is being unlocked from the 4 episodes of nationwide lockdown, social distancing is the only way to stop transmission of coronavirus. But at present it does seem to be a practice!

7. Recovery rate increased to 49.8% on 12th June 2020. This incremental increase in overall recovery rate is good. Corona patients are recovering in an average of 14-17 days. Considering the increasing number of patients and a possible community transmission, resuming economic activities to pre-COVID period would be a long drawn battle now and will take months.

8. Active vs recovered vs death as on 12th June 2020. With every passing day, the proportion of recovered cases is increasing and the proportion of death and active cases are falling. The corona curve has bent indicating a slower growth. India needs to bend this curve further to flatten the corona curve which India needs badly as the economic and opportunity costs as well as human cost is increasing.

9. Death to total confirmed cases has increased to 2.87% on 12th June 2020. This trend must stop. Else the final mortality rate will be higher than the mark of 3%.

10. The daily death count on 12th June 2020 was far higher than that of the 7-days average and this is not a good sign. 7-days average should start falling and it is possible only when there is proper medication. But at present media reports are floating that patients are not being treated or admitted in the hospitals. This will increase mortality rate. India is paying a huge economic cost to this coronavirus outbreak but human lives must be saved.

11. However the numbers of patients in India are increasing but India is still doing better than most of the countries in the world on account of death per million with an average of 6.59 against the world average of 56.4. It should also be noted that corona infection started accelerating very late in comparison to the rest of the world and that is the reason why India is still in a growth phase while most countries in the world are in a decline phase.

Rajeev Upadhyay

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