Coronavirus cases in India: What is worrying is that as India’s testing levels have risen, so have positivity levels; positivity is defined as the number of new infections as a share of the number of new tests.
Covid-19 cases in India: India on Monday inched closer to clocking 50,000 infections a day and is on course to beat Brazil at this metric; last week, India added 3.1 lakh cases while Brazil added 3.2 lakh. At this pace, India is also likely to surpass the US within two weeks by which time, it will be adding around 90,000 cases per day while the US will add around 85,000. For several weeks now, India has reported the fastest growth in infections in the world.
A month ago, India’s cases were rising 22.9% per week compared to 15.8% for Brazil and 11.5% for the US. In the last one week, while India’s growth rose to 23.9%, for Brazil, it fell to 14.1% and for the US to 10.7%. As a result, the number of infections in India will double in around 19 days while it will take 32 days in Brazil and 42 in the US.
What is worrying is that as India’s testing levels have risen, so have positivity levels; positivity is defined as the number of new infections as a share of the number of new tests. While India has more than doubled its testing levels in the last month – from 2.1 lakh on July 1 to 5.2 lakh per day – India’s five-day average positivity on Monday at 11.7%, was only slightly lower than the all-time high of 12.8% reached on July 25.
Even though the numbers are artificially depressed by an increasing number of less reliable Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT), they are nonetheless important. The government plans to raise testing to one million a day; if the current trend in positivity persists, it would take the daily count to over a lakh.