Tuesday, March 31, 2020

COVID19 and India: Till 29th March 2020

A nationwide blanket lockdown has been implemented in India on 25th March in response to fight against coronavirus outbreak. It is expected that it would bring the growth in the numbers of cases down and improve all the other indicators. This article aims at analysing the COVID19 data (national as well as state level) on the coronavirus to understand what turns the coronavirus outbreak is taking and whether there is improvement. This article analyses the national data till 29th March 2020. In this analysis 21st March has been taken as point of reference for the purpose of analyses and comparisons.

Analysis of the National Data

On 21st March 2020, there were 334 confirmed cases, 23 recoveries and 4 unfortunate deaths with a net of 307 active cases being treated in 22 states of India which has far higher than the previous period 14th March (Covid19india.org, 2020). On 29th March, there were 1,139 confirmed cases, 102 recoveries and 27 deaths with 1,010 active cases being treated across 27 states of India. Since 21st March, coronavirus has reached to 5 more states and total confirmed cases have increased by 341%.

Growth Rate

On 29th March 2020, the new cases increased by 229.9% in 8 days while in the previous week as on 21st March it increased by 313.6%. So in this week growth in new cases has fallen down and it is good news. But the reason of this fall in growth rate is either lockdown or increasing base of confirmed cases. For a few weeks, the growth in new cases will be very high but with increase in base, growth in new cases will fall and this will increase the doubling period.

Positivity Rate

On 29th March 2020, the weekly positivity rate had increased to 3.8% from 2.3% on 21st March. Similarly, the overall positivity rate had also increased to 3% from 2% on 21st March. Since 14th March, weekly as well as overall positivity rates are increasing. There is no sign of moderation in future too as the testing capacity is not increasing at the same pace of confirmed cases. Testing is the key to break the chain. Larger the numbers of tests, lower the chances of community transmission.

Doubling Period

Doubling period increased to 4 and 4.1 days for confirmed and active cases respectively as on 29th March 2020 against 3.7 and 3.9 days on 21st March. This increase is very small but in positive direction. It would be early to say whether this increase in doubling period and fall in growth rate is due to lockdown or the effect of increasing base. However, lockdown might have some impact that would not translate into gains before 14 days. On the other hand the increasing positivity rate indicates that this increase in the doubling period might be due to the increasing base than the lockdown.

Recovery Rate

In the corresponding week, the recovery rate (daily) and recovery rate (overall) increased to 9.8% and 9% as on 29th March from 9.4% and 6.9% on 21st March respectively. Recovery rates have improved and this is good as the number of active cases fell due to good reason; not death.

Per Million

On 29th March, there were 0.84 confirmed cases per million which were more than times higher than the previous period on 21st March 2020. It was an increase of more than three times. The same trend was witnessed in case of death per million with an increase of more than six times. However the pace of increase in testing capacity had been lower at 226. Testing was too low in comparison to the population and there is an urgent need to increase testing capacity. It should be noted that as the outbreak will progress, the confirmed cases, death and tests per million will increase.

Comparison with World

On 29th March 2020, death per million in India was 0.02 against the world average of 4.07 whereas in Sweden it was as high as 165.94 (Worldometers, 2020). Sweden has one of the best healthcare systems and infrastructure in the world. But this is just beginning of outbreak in India so this ratio is very low and if India wouldn’t be able to control the outbreak, it will rise sharply as it has in other countries.

Conclusion from National Data

On 29th March the proportion of active cases with respect to total confirmed cases fell to 88.7% with a recovery rate of 9% and case fatality rate of 2.4%. Recovery rate as well as case fatality rate both has increased. With time recovery rate will increase, so the case fatality rate. But after some time, it is expected that the case fatality rate will start falling as the numbers of confirmed cases increase. The recovery time remained the same around 2-3 weeks. Growth rates confirmed and active cases have fallen in this week resulting into increased doubling periods. It is important that the positivity rate must fall and large numbers of testing would be the only tool that can help in detecting the probable positive cases. Managing coronavirus outbreak is going a walk on a tight rope.

Analysis of the State Data

On 21st March COVID19 had reached to 22 states but after 8 days on 29th March, total 27 states reported cases of the coronavirus. Slowly, it is spreading to the whole country. In this section, the analysis of state level data is presented with the purpose to track the outbreak of the coronavirus to assess the vulnerability of different states and what measures should be taken to contain the spread of virus. States with no coronavirus cases or insufficient data have been dropped from the study but would be included once there is enough data for the same.

Confirmed Cases Per Million

From the below graph about confirmed cases per million, it is very clear that the numbers of cases in 27 states have increased at very high rate following the same trend as of the national data. Out of 27 states, total 14 states had equal or higher cases per million than that of the national average. Among all Laddakh had the highest number at 44.37 followed by Andaman and Nicobar, Chandigarh, Kerala and Delhi. Odisha had the lowest number at 0.07 followed by Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh.

Recovery Rate

On 21st March of 22 states, only 6 states had reported any recoveries but on 29th March it increased 16 states out of 27 states. 6 states had higher recovery rates than the national average. Himachal Pradesh had the highest recovery rate at 66.7% followed by Haryana, Laddakh, Uttarakhand and Maharashtra. Telangana had the lowest recovery rate at 1.2% followed by Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan. All the state were taking 2-3 weeks for recovery.

Case Fatality Rate

On 21st March only 4 states had report confirmed death from the coronavirus but on 29th March the numbers of states reported death increased to 13. Only two states Kerala and Telangana reported case fatality rate than the national average. Himachal Pradesh reported the highest case fatality rate at 33.3% followed by Gujarat, Bihar, MP and West Bengal.

Conclusion from State Data

From the above data, it can be said that on average Himachal Pradesh did very well while Kerala had the lowest performance but this is just beginning of outbreak considering the international experiences. So in future the whole dynamics may change.


On 29th March, the outbreak has reached to 27 states with increasing numbers across states and nation. On the basis of different measures, it would be very early to comment of the impact of lockdown on coronavirus outbreak. Only after two weeks any impact of lockdown would be visible. However, all the indicators calculated for national as well as state data, things are getting worse across the nation.


  • Covid19india.org. (2020, March 25). https://www.covid19india.org/. Retrieved from Coronavirus: https://www.covid19india.org/
  • Worldometers. (2020, March 25). Worldometers. Retrieved from Coronavirus: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
- Rajeev Kumar Upadhyay

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