Northeast May Be Covid’s Next Hotspot | India News
Development Data Lab, a research organization that works with open data, and a team led by Professor Anup Malani of the University of Chicago calculate the reproduction rate (Rt) for the Covid-19 outbreak each day. This is a measure of how many people an infected person can infect in a community. Calculations show that the value of Rt is greater than 1 for all Northeast states.
A Rt of 1.36, the latest Tripura value, means that 100 cases could increase to over 5,000 in two weeks, while an Rt of 0.89 (the Karnataka value) could reduce 100 cases to 22 in the same period. Of course, if the values change in the meantime, the scenarios will too.
The data shows that there are 15 states and UTs where this value was more than 1 on May 21. At 1.36, the value is the highest for Tripura followed by Meghalaya at 1.31 and Arunachal Pradesh at 1.26. Apart from the eight northeastern states, Lakshadweep and Tamil Nadu are also present in the list of ten states or UT with the highest Rt values. Other states and UTs that have a value greater than 1 for this indicator are Odisha, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Ladakh and West Bengal, where the Rt ranged between 1, .02 and 1.06.
For the remaining 18 states and UTs for which the forecast is available, Rt was less than 1, indicating a declining future course of new cases. The list of states with calculated Rt values less than 1 includes Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Gujarat, all of which have been recent epicenters of the ongoing outbreak.
An analysis of the data at the district level further strengthens the overall forecast. Of the 579 districts for which data were available as of May 21, the Rt value was higher than 1.3 for 25, of which 19 are in the northeast of the country. At 1.6, the Upper Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh had the highest Rt value. The value was 1.5 or higher for Champhai in Mizoram and Khowai and Sepahijala in Tripura. The six districts outside the northeast with Rt values above 1.3 were Chitradurga in Karnataka, Osmanabad in Maharashtra, Boudh in Odisha and Perambalur, Ariyalur and Tirupathur in Tamil Nadu.
Although daily cases are still at low levels in these districts, the experience of states that faced the previous burning of this outbreak suggests that a higher infection rate than the previous outbreak means that cases can increase very quickly and overwhelm the healthcare infrastructure.