In 60 days, India’s COVID-19 cases increased from 3 to over 33,000
India’s first COVID-19 case was detected in Kerala on January 30. Over the next months, two more cases were detected in the state, but none in the rest of the country. On March 2, two new cases detected in Delhi and Telangana took the number of confirmed cases up to five. In the 60 days since then, India’s tally has increased to 33,050, affecting 32 states and union territories.
In these two months, an increased number of cases have been reported daily. In the two weeks to March 15, an average of eight cases were detected per day; between March 16 and March 31, this increased 10-fold to 80 cases a day, on average.
In the first fortnight of April 2020, 700 new cases were reported every day; now, during the last 15 days, over 1,400 new cases are being reported each day, on average.
Although cases are increasing in absolute terms, the rate of increase has dropped and cases are doubling in more days than they used to. At the peak of increase, on March 21, 2020, cases were doubling approximately every two days. Now, at a 5.6% increase rate, cases are doubling every 13 days.
During the 21-day lockdown that began March 25, 2020, the rate of increase rose to 22% on March 31, 2020, and then halved to 11% by April 8, 2020.
The lockdown was further extended until May 3, 2020, and the rate of increase has halved again in 15 days since the extension.
But even with these lower rates of increase, there could potentially be 66,100 cases by May 13 at the current rate of increase of 5.6%; 132,000 cases by May 26 and over 1 million cases by July 4.
If the rate halves further today, the cases would potentially double to 66,100 by May 26. However, the rate of increase in the number of cases halved due to a stringent lockdown, and there is no clarity whether contagion will reduce once the lockdown lifts, even if only in certain places and at different times.
Already, there are various estimates of when cases will peak, ranging from May to June-July, and some estimates suggest there will be a second peak during the monsoon. Experts do not agree whether the lifting of curbs post-May 3 is a good idea in terms of controlling contagion.
Meanwhile, with increasing numbers of cases, the rate of recovery has also been increasing, while the death rate has stayed constant. Of the 33,050 patients who have tested positive until 8 a.m. on April 30, a quarter (8,325) have recovered while 3.2% (1,074) have died.
The recovery rate has been consistently increasing since April 10, 2020, when it was 7.6%. In 20 days, the rate has more than doubled to 25.2%.
The death rate increased from 2% on March 10 to 3.3% on April 14, 2020, and has since stayed constant at around 3.1-3.3%. The lowest was on March 21--1.3%.
The first patient to die of COVID-19 was in Kalaburagi, Karnataka, on March 10. By March 31, 35 patients had died. In the next 15 days, the death toll increased by 10 times to 392 on April 15.
Over the last 15 days, 45 patients have died each day, on average.
(Shreya Raman is a data analyst at IndiaSpend.)