On March 25, the day India came under lockdown, it had a little over 500 cases. By April 21 (11 am), it reported 18,601 cases and 590 deaths. Despite the surge in cases, the bright spot as India completed four weeks in lockdown is the slower growth in coronavirus infections.
In the first week of lockdown, Covid-19 cases in India were doubling every five days; by the fourth week, they took more than nine days to double. India Today Data Intelligence Unit (DIU) analysed seven states which reported more than 1,000 coronavirus cases, and found that barring Gujarat and Maharashtra, all others have shown significant improvement in reducing the rise in Covid-19 cases.
Where states stand
Maharashtra had the highest number of coronavirus cases in both the first and last weeks of the lockdown. On Day 1 of the lockdown, it had 128 cases, and now, it has 4,666 cases. On April 14, the state had reported 2,337 cases. This means coronavirus cases doubled in Maharashtra in 7.5 days. In the first week of lockdown, it took 7.9 days for Covid-19 cases to double.
On the first day of lockdown, Gujarat had 38 cases. Four weeks later, it surged to 1,939. In the first week of lockdown, Covid-19 cases in the state were doubling every 6.4 days. Since April 14, cases doubled every 4.1 days. This, however, was a slight improvement from the third week of lockdown (April 8-14) when cases in Gujarat doubled every 3.2 days.
The situation is much better in Delhi, where coronavirus cases doubled every 3.6 days in the first week of lockdown. In the fourth week, cases took 14.5 days to double.
Tamil Nadu too has shown great progress. In the first week of lockdown, coronavirus cases here doubled every 3 days. In the fourth week of lockdown, cases doubled every 17.8 days.
In Uttar Pradesh, coronavirus cases doubled every 4 days in the first week of lockdown and every 8.7 days in the fourth. Likewise in Rajasthan, cases doubled every 5.8 days in the first week of lockdown and every 9.2 days in the fourth week.
Madhya Pradesh, where coronavirus cases have recently picked up pace, had also shown improvements by the last week of lockdown. As of April 14, it had 987 cases, which surged to 1,485 on April 21. This means cases here took 10 days to double in the fourth week of lockdown; in the first week, they took only 3 days.
Confirmed cases have a direct correlation with testing as DIU had earlier found. The government has increased testing and more cases are coming up, the speed of which varies from state to state.
Interestingly, the Indian Council of Medical Research had said on Monday that roughly 80 per cent of coronavirus cases in India could be asymptomatic. This means most confirmed cases of Covid-19 in India did not exhibit any symptom. However, the strategic testing criterion does not need to change, the government had responded.
Senior health ministry official Lav Agarwal had said on Monday, “Our testing criterion is quite detailed; it has provisions for testing symptomatic cases as well as people who are high-risk contacts of lab-confirmed cases.”