Where India stands in the global spread of Covid-19
The graph of daily new Covid-19 cases and deaths in India has been trending downward for at least three months, after daily new cases and deaths peaked in mid-September. An average of nearly 22,000 new cases were recorded in India every day of the week ending December 27, according to HT’s Covid-19 panel. This is less than a quarter of the nearly 92,000 new daily cases reported on average in mid-September. This drop in new cases is not a reflection of a global trend. New daily cases in countries like the United States and Russia continue to grow. This trend has now placed India in a better place globally in terms of coronavirus disease than three to four months ago.
The proportion of new cases of Covid-19 in India drops to 4.5%
India imposed a strict lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in late March, while its daily new cases peaked in mid-September. The proportion of new confirmed infections from India in the world continued to increase every month during this period. Less than 1% of new cases in March were reported in India, while its share of new cases in September was an overwhelming 31%, meaning that almost one in three positive cases in the world was reported in India. This is based on data compiled by the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of new cases reported by India in August and September was higher than that of any other country (the United States, with half the number of new cases, ranked second). Also in terms of deaths, India was the country with the highest number of Covid-19 related deaths reported in September.
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The numbers look better now. This month (through December 27), India was behind two other countries (the US and Brazil) in terms of new reported cases, while it was behind seven other countries in terms of new reported deaths. India’s share of new cases decreased from 31% in September to just 4.5% in December. The country’s death share fell from 20.5% in September to 3.5% this month (again, through December 27). This means that India is not as significant a contributor to Covid-19 cases and deaths globally as it was in September.
India has not seen a second wave of cases
Among the five countries with the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases, India is the only one that has not seen a second wave of cases, at least so far. It has been roughly 10 months since Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, and many large countries have seen multiple waves of new cases in this period. And the UK are in their third wave of cases, while countries like Italy, France and Spain have recently crossed their second wave. Russia now appears to be near the peak of its second wave. But the case trajectory in India shows a clear spike in mid-September followed by a steady drop in new daily cases. There was only a brief break in this declining trend in mid-November, when cases in some of India’s large states such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan began to rise again, indicating the possibility of a second wave. But that did not hold for long, and cases in India continued to decline. This has happened despite the country having witnessed potential super broadcaster events like Diwali, which was marked by large crowds gathering at markets and Bihar’s assembly elections.
India has a low death rate
India has the second highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the world, but the country ranks third in terms of the total number of deaths. This gap would have been larger if only new cases and deaths were taken into account, with India ranking third for number of new cases in December and eighth for number of new deaths. This is because India’s fatality rate (deaths as a percentage of confirmed cases) is low, in fact the lowest among the 10 countries with the highest number of deaths. Almost 148,000 people have died from Covid-19 in India, accounting for 1.4% of the nearly 10.2 million confirmed cases so far. Among the top 10 countries, the death rate is the highest in Mexico, at 8.8%. The United States has 87% more cases than India, but 125% more deaths. On the other hand, India has 37% more cases than Brazil, but has reported 23% fewer deaths.