COVID-19 cases rise sharply in India, after decline at start of the year

After a lull in the spread of the deadly coronavirus in India, the current Ministry of Health's COVID-19 data point to an alarming surge in the virus all over again

India crossed 1.13 crore cases of coronavirus with an addition of 24,882 new cases on March 13. Photo: PTI

Nearly after a year the first COVID-19 case was detected in India, the country is once again witnessing a surge in the spread of the virus, after a satisfactory steady decline in the beginning of the new year. An analysis of the current Ministry of Health data, (see charts below) suggests that the country seems to be once again heading towards a severe spread of the coronavirus in March.

All the parameters including total cases, deaths, death rate, as well as test positivity rate, are showing traction and unsatisfactory shifts for the last few weeks. And, these changes are all signalling that the virus is continuing to spread at an alarming rate all over again.

India crossed 1.13 crore cases of coronavirus with an addition of 24,882 new cases on Saturday (March 13). This significant spurt was the highest number of fresh cases in the last seven days. During the last week (March 07 to 13), the country reported 1.41 lakh new cases and 790 new deaths due to the coronavirus.

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India reported an average of above twenty thousand new cases of the virus in the last week. The daily average in new cases was less than 15,000 during the last week of February. It had declined to about 11,206 cases in the second week of February, but later due to a sudden spike in cases across the country it started increasing substantially to reach 20,234 daily cases in the last week.

Also read: Vaccine-induced antibodies less effective against coronavirus variants: Study

The case versus recoveries graph too is showing negative signs, as new cases were more than the recoveries in the last week. A total of 1.41 lakh new cases were reported in the last week as against 1.19 lakh recoveries. Considering a day-wise picture, only Monday and Tuesday (March 9 and 10, respectively) saw more recoveries than the new cases, but the trend was reversed later in the week. This shows that the spread of the virus is increasing across the country.

Death rate and the number of deaths are other criteria to gauge the severity of the spread. The death rate is the number of deaths per hundred patients of COVID-19. Though the death rate is declining over the last three months, the number of deaths saw a spike in the last few weeks. During last week, India reported 790 deaths with an average of 113 deaths per day. The daily average of deaths had gone below 100 at the beginning of the year which is again rising in the month of March.

Also read: Coronavirus crisis unlikely to be over by end of year: WHO

The daily test positivity rate or TPR in India has also been constantly rising over the last month. TPR is the number of positive patients per hundred tested. Its value remained above 2 % all through the week in India. The highest TPR of 3.46 per cent was recorded on Monday (March 8). This value was constantly below 2 per cent at the beginning of the year. The spike in TPR is a clear sign of a spike in the spread of the virus in the country.

India began its vaccination in the mid-January, and has completed the vaccination of more than 2 crore persons as of Saturday (March 13), according to the Union Ministry of Health. An average of 5 lakh persons is being inoculated every day since the beginning of the drive. The government has also begun vaccination on self-registration in the country from February.

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