India may be flattening coronavirus curve, claims Brookings India analyst; research shows growth of cases has declined after 6 April

India might be flattening the curve of the novel coronavirus outbreak, as the growth rate of new cases has consistently declined after 6 April, an analysis by former Brookings Institute Fellow Shamika Ravi shows.

FP Staff April 13, 2020 19:49:43 IST
India may be flattening coronavirus curve, claims Brookings India analyst; research shows growth of cases has declined after 6 April

India might be flattening the curve of the novel coronavirus outbreak, as the growth rate of new cases has consistently declined after 6 April, an analysis by former Brookings Institute Fellow Shamika Ravi shows.

The data comes at a time when the 21-day nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi draws to a close. According to Ravi, from 6 April, cases have been doubling every six days, as opposed to earlier, when cases were doubling every four days.

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Representational image. AP

Further, the country, on an average, has reported only 4.2 percent positive cases for every 100 tests conducted, and this rate has remained broadly stable since 6 April. Also, the number of tests is growing at a higher rate than the number of confirmed cases.

According to an analysis in Hindustan Times, India was testing 121.4 people per million on 11 April. In comparison, Germany was testing 15,892 people per million and Italy was testing 13,356.1 people per million. From 29 March to 6 April, cases doubled every four days, as against the earlier period, when cases were doubling up every five days.

In this period, the growth rate had increased, a figure which Ravi attributes partly to the religious congregation of the Tablighi Jamaat at Delhi. Ravi has based her analysis on data from the John Hopkins coronavirus Resource Centre.

'Flattening the curve' of an infection essentially means using protective practices to slow the outbreak so that hospitals have rooms, supplies, and doctors for all those who need care. This includes measures such as washing hands, avoiding non-essential travel and ensuring social distancing.

Among the states that have reported the most coronavirus cases, Kerala led the way in terms of flattening the curve. The state's finance minister Thomas Isaac on Sunday tweeted that  the number of active has declined in the past week, and that the number of recoveries will cross the number of active cases soon.

Kerala was the first state in India to report coronavirus cases in January. Till now, it has reported 376 cases and three deaths. NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant noted that while the global mortality rate due to COVID-19 is 5.75, the state's mortality rate is only 0.58.

According to an NDTV report, Kerala's success in tackling the pandemic may have been due to massive mobilisation of police force to enforce the lockdown as well as essential services, releasing exhaustive route maps of positive cases and mobile tracking applications of people in quarantine.

Several other states have got some success in their administrative response. Maharashtra has conducted by far the most tests in the country — over 33,093 till 10 April. Rajasthan's Bhilwara succeeded in containing the outbreak after an initial spurt in cases between 18 March to 30 March. From 30 March to 6 April, the district reported only one case. According to India Today, its success was due to a 'ruthless' containment strategy, comprehensive screening and strict enforcement of lockdown.

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