Bengaluru was reporting just about six new cases per day in May – by the end of May, it had 291 cases.
Delhi and Mumbai continue to account for a fourth of India’s Covid-19 infections, but the emergence of new hotspots is worrying; in most of them, lockdowns continue in some form or another. If you take the top-seven districts in the country other than Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Chennai, which were anyway reporting large numbers of infections for several months anyway, infection levels have risen 7.6 times over the past month. While they accounted for 3.2% of India’s infections a month ago, this is now up to 8.8%.
If this number is frightening, chances are it will get a lot worse. In all likelihood, the increased infections are a direct result of increased testing – testing data is not available for most of these cities.
Bengaluru was reporting just about six new cases per day in May – by the end of May, it had 291 cases. However, this suddenly sky-rocketed to 1,000-1,100 per day and the total is up 24 times in the last one month, to 12,509 today (see graphic). The city’s positivity rate – new infections as a share of new tests – was 4.1 on May 28 but rose to 35.9 on July 9. Since few cities give data on the availability of beds/ICUs/ventilators, etc, and the demand for them, it is not possible to estimate if, and when, they will run short of capacity. Occasional news reports, though, suggest there is already a problem.
Hyderabad had 1,216 cases on May 28 which grew by 320 per day for the next month; after June 28, growth jumped to as much as 1,140 per day, taking the total to 23,358 on July 9. Hyderabad’s infections grew just under 10-fold in this period.
With just 5,357 cases, Guwahati doesn’t look like a hotspot, and a month ago, it had just 423 cases; cases in this city have risen 12.7 times over the past 30 days.
Add Delhi and Mumbai to the mix, and the problem gets even more severe. To begin with, these nine cities account for more than a third of the country’s cases. Add Pune and Chennai, and that number rises to 47%.
In Delhi, despite its high base of more than one lakh infections, the growth is still quite high and, over the past month, Covid-19 cases rose 3.3 times. Mumbai infections grew much less at 1.7 times but that is because the city tests very little. As compared to Delhi’s 36,939 tests per million people, Mumbai tests just 28,763 (and Bangalore 11,779). Since Mumbai’s positivity is 29.2% (Delhi is 9.5%), ramping up its testing will result in an immediate spurt in cases. Since Mumbai is not testing enough, it is not able to bring Covid-affected for treatment fast enough and that could be one reason for the city’s higher death rate of 5.8% (versus Delhi’s 3.1%).