Widening infection-recovery gap, rising TPR hint at COVID-19 relapse

The week between March 14 and 20 saw India clocking in an average of 31,650 cases daily while the same was 20,234 cases the week before; current spike corresponds to the period of July 2020 when the country was headed towards the peak of the pandemic

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Representative photo: PTI

India logged in 43,846 fresh cases of COVID-19 on Sunday (March 21), the highest single-day spike of the year, a day after recording 40,953 new infections.

On Saturday (March 20), the daily number of cases crossed the 40,000-mark for the first time since November 29 when the country had reported 41,810 fresh cases in a day.

The current spike corresponds to the period of July 2020 when the country was headed towards the peak of the spread of the virus. India’s COVID-19 tally has reached 1.1 crore as of Sunday, according to data provided by the Union Health Ministry.


India reported about 2.21 lakh new cases of the virus in the last week (March 14 to March 20). The death count has crossed 1.59 lakh cases while the recoveries stand at 1.11 crore cases. An average of 31,650 cases were reported on a daily basis for the last seven days compared to the 20,234 case average of the week prior to that. Since mid-February, the cases have again begun piling up all over the country.

Related news: India records 43,846 new COVID-19 cases, highest 24-hr spike in 4 months

A look at the cases versus recoveries in the last week presents a rather unsatisfactory picture – the country reported 2.21 lakh new cases against just 1.34 lakh recoveries. While the difference between cases and recoveries was 22,508 cases in the previous week (March 7 to 13), it shot to 87,484 cases in the last week, indicating a sharp rise in the infection.

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The smaller is the difference between the two, the lesser the spread of the virus. Not even a single day in a week had more recoveries than the new cases which was the other way round at the beginning of the year.

Though the death rate of the country has dropped down to 1.38 percent (as recorded on Sunday), the increasing cases have nullified the drop. The death rate is the number of deaths per hundred infected patients. During the last week, India reported 1,112 deaths with an average of 158 deaths a day. This is the first time in 2021, that any week had more than a thousand deaths due to COVID-19. The previous week had reported 790 deaths across the country. About a 40 per cent increase in the number of deaths was observed in the last seven days.

The surge in daily Test Positivity Rate (TPR) in India is one of the major indicators of the increasing spread of the infection in the country. TPR is the number of positive patients per hundred tested. The lowest TPR reported in the last week was 2.80 per cent while the highest TPR was reported on Saturday (3.86 per cent). The increasing TPR is the clear indicator of the surging spread of the virus.

As of March 20, India has completed vaccination of 4.20 crore persons according to the data provided by the union ministry of health. An average of 6.75 lakh persons were inoculated every day since the beginning of the vaccination drive on January 16. The government has also begun vaccination on self-registration in the country from February.

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