Covid-19 numbers in India have taken a turn for the better. The rate of new infections reported across the country is at its lowest level in five months, according to data analyzed by HT. This is the first time that a decrease of this magnitude and consistency has been recorded in the trajectory of Covid-19 in the country.
All data indicate that this is the best outbreak situation in five months. A look at how the figures show that India is launching the fight against the disease.
1. India’s daily case trajectory is the lowest in the last 5 months
On Monday, India registered 22,022 new Covid-19 cases, according to HT’s Covid-19 dashboard. This is the lowest number of new infections reported in the country since July 2, when the country recorded 21,853 cases daily. The seven-day average of daily cases, also called the trajectory of cases in a region, reached 93,617 on September 16, the highest recorded to date. As of Monday, this number rises to 28,827 – down 69% from the peak. The last time he was at this level was on July 15, or five months ago, when he was 28,594.
One of the best signs, however, is that there have been small fluctuations in the decrease of the trajectory. The seven-day average declined almost steadily from the mid-September peak (except for the one-week fluctuation observed in the second half of November, largely due to rising cases in Delhi, West Bengal and Rajasthan). .
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2. For the first time, the situation of Covid is under control in all hot spot states of India
Even after the new cases in India peaked in mid-September, there were some regions that were still reporting increasing numbers – especially Delhi, Kerala, West Bengal and Rajasthan. The third wave in Delhi, for example, was so strong that it caused a momentary increase in the general number across the country in November. However, in the last two weeks, even that has been brought under control.
As a result, for the first time since the outbreak spread across the country, the number is declining in every major hot spot region in the country. In India’s hardest-hit state, Maharashtra, the seven-day daily average fell by almost 82% from the September 22,149 peak. In Karnataka, this fell by 87% from the peak; in Andhra Pradesh decreased by 95%; is down 82% in Tamil Nadu; and Kerala fell 47% from the state-assisted peak. Delhi, which experienced its latest peak (7,341 cases per day for the week ending November 14), also saw an impressive 71% drop from its peak.
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3. Correct testing: the positivity rate reaches the lowest level
On Monday, 2.2% of the samples tested in India returned positive – the lowest single-day positivity rate reported since April 25 (also 2.2%). The average rate of positive samples for Covid-19 across the country fell from 9.3% for the week ending September 22 to 3% for the week ending June 17, another trend that suggests a contracting outbreak. In the nearly eight months since the Indian Medical Research Council (ICMR) released data on testing Covid-19 in the country, it is the lowest it has ever reached the average positivity rate in India.
A low positivity rate, along with declining new cases, suggests that the virus testing strategy pays dividends. India’s test rate (seven-day average of daily tests) was very close to peak levels – it remained around one million (963,800 samples were tested every day in the previous week) in the last three months.
4. The secret of the remarkable change in Delhi
Delhi was one of the key regions that defied the biggest trend when the first Covid-19 wave in India began to retreat for the first time. While cases were declining across the country in early October, the capital saw the start of the third wave. This wave peaked in mid-November and has changed dramatically since then. The reduction in new infections came hand in hand with a decrease in the positivity rate and a significant improvement in testing.
On 15 December, for example, Delhi tested 85,105 samples for Covid-19, of which 42,056 were tested using the more accurate reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method. Both figures were one-day records for Delhi. But despite a record number of tests, the one-day positivity rate was only 1.9% – once (April 6) Delhi has ever reported a lower proportion of tests that tested positive. The average positivity rate on Tuesday stood at 2.7% – the lowest ever recorded. The average positivity rate should steadily drop to 5% or less if testing is adequate and keeps the outbreak under control, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In Delhi, this has now been below the threshold for nine days in a row.