Maharashtra has emerged as the lead state in India as far as Coronavirus infections are concerned, going by an analysis of the details of state-wise COVID-19 cases in India (see table).
While the numbers are changing every hour, as of April 3 Friday, Maharashtra continued to remain on the top with 423 cases and 21 deaths, followed by Tamil Nadu at 309 cases and Delhi with 293 cases.
Kerala, which used to be No.1 for quite some time, has slipped to the 4th place as new cases are not being reported at the same rate as earlier.
Out of the 286 cases in Kerala, around 215 are incoming travelers from the Middle East and Europe.
Total cases in India is now around the 2,600 mark.
Death rates continue to remain high for states like West Bengal, Punjab, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
A high death rate is a good indicator of a high number of undetected cases, while a low death rate — such as that of Kerala — indicates that most of the cases of COVID-19 infection are being detected and recorded.
Among the fastest growing states is Uttar Pradesh, which had only around 120 cases yesterday noon. Delhi, which had only around 220 cases yesterday noon, too has seen a sharp increase.
India is currently adding around 500 new cases per day, but this is likely to come down substantially by Sunday to around 200 or so.
TEST MORE, REPORT MORE
The high number of cases in Maharashtra and Kerala is also because of the high degree of alertness demonstrated by these two states in screening and testing potential carriers of the virus.
The two states were among the first to start testing for COVID-19 in India. While Kerala started testing as early as January, and Maharashtra started screening incoming fliers in February.
Most other states started monitoring and testing activities only in March.
Because of this, the two have have also recorded the highest ‘cure rates’ in India. The virus takes about 15-25 days to get out of the human body.
According to the latest numbers collected from various sources including the media, at total of 39 patients have been cured of Coronavirus in Maharashtra as of today morning, showing a cure rate of 11.6%.
Kerala too has seen 23 people cured so far, or about 8.7% of all reported cases.
Another area that has shown a high cure rate is Gurgaon in Haryana, home to Indian offices of many multinational companies, and one of the earliest to detect Coronavirus cases in the country.
Haryana reported a total of 43 cases, out of which 27 are cured — giving a cure percentage of 62.8% — the highest in the country.
Similarly, Ladakh — which shares an extensive land boundary with China and started showing infections very early — too has a cure rate of 23%.
As for death rates, Telangana, Gujarat and Maharashtra recorded the highest numbers.
Telangana, with 9 deaths out of a total of 129, recorded 7% casualty, while Gujarat was not far behind (see table).
Kerala, despite being home to the oldest COVID-19 cases in India and a high patient load, has recorded only 2 deaths so far, giving a death rate of 0.75%.
Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh also recorded nil or low death rates so far.
Death rates tend to be high in states where the infection started early, and less in newly infected states like Tamil Nadu.
India has seen around 450 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the last 24 hours.
The numbers showed a sudden jump after it was revealed that hundreds of people who returned from an Islamic event in Delhi in mid-March had carried the virus to their home states like Telangana and Tamil Nadu.
Because these states did not put in quarantine measures early, SARS-CoV-2 is likely to have spread to other people that they came in contact with over the last two weeks.
On the other hand, places like Kerala went into a lock-down on March 10 — nearly two weeks ahead of the rest of the country. In such places, cases of transmission from the Nizamuddin markaz (religious gathering) are very low.
The neighboring state of Tamil Nadu — which went into lockdown two weeks later as part of the national effort — has so far seen 110 new cases related to the markaz.
The markaz was held in late February and early March in a compound that shares a boundary with a police station.
While an estimated 8000+ people participated in the event at various times, around 6,000 of them managed to go back to their hometowns before the long-distance train and bus services were cancelled on March 22.
However, over 2,000 people were trapped in the Sufi compound when India announced a ‘stay where you are’ lockdown on March 24.
It is believed that some of the participants of the event from countries such as Indonesia were already infected when they landed in India and communicated the disease to Indian participants during the event.
Closed, indoor events involving hundreds of people are at marked as particularly risky as far as chances of transmitting the disease is concerned.
While the main means of viral transmission in the open is through water droplets that can travel only for a few meters, closed areas such as ships and halls have seen far greater levels of transmission.
Most of the other cases in India have so far been reported from people returning from abroad.
For example, out of the nearly 260 cases reported in Kerala as of yesterday, 191 were in incoming travelers from foreign countries, while the remaining 70 or so contracted the virus from the above group.
Most of the cases in Maharashtra too are linked to people who arrived from foreign countries.
Cases of unknown or community transmission — where the virus cannot be tracked down to a foreign source — are still relatively rare. Once such cases start increasing in number, the COVID-19 in India is supposed to have entered the so-called Stage 3.
The pan-India lockdown, imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a week ago, is an attempt to prevent the country from entering this stage.
However, there is already pressure on the government to ease the lockdown on April 14 — with some activists alleging that the lockdown is affecting the availability of food and essentials, particularly to low-income groups and daily wage earners.
It remains to be seen if the Coronavirus-lockdown will be lifted on April 14 or not.
The number of active Coronavirus cases in India have zoomed from around 450 at the time the lockdown was imposed on March 24 to around 1,800 as of today morning — in spite of the lockdown.
If the numbers continue to increase at this rate, the lifting of the lockdown on April 14 could have disastrous results. However, some believe that the number of news cases reported per day will fall to less than 50 by then due to the lockdown.
While most countries have opted for such lockdowns to control the virus, some countries — such as the US, the UK and Sweden — have taken a more relaxed approach. Similarly, in countries like Italy and Spain, the population did not cooperate with lockdown procedures as expected.
This has resulted in tragic results in Italy, USA, UK and Spain, with tens of thousands losing their lives.
However, Sweden has so far been spared any such impact and people continue to gather in groups and spend time in bars and restaurants in the country.
Infections are also on the up in Japan after initially going down as controls were relaxed and people started moving around.
China and South Korea are the countries that have successfully arrested the transmission of COVID-19 via such aggressive measures.