- The five worst-hit states account for 59.3% of the total recoveries: Centre
- Positivity rate of Maharashtra is 20.4%, much higher than India’s 8.5%
- Andhra Pradesh has done maximum tests per million among worst-hit states
New Delhi: According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), India is the second worst-affected country by total confirmed cases (56,46,010) and active cases (9,68,377) and third worst in the world in terms of fatalities (90,020). One in every seven active cases and one in every 11 COVID-19 deaths globally are from India. The data provided by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) shows that the last one million cases in the country have come in just 11 days. The top five states that have been hit the worst by the pandemic are Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. These five states have the highest confirmed and active cases and contribute to about 60 per cent of India’s total confirmed cases. However, these five are also the states that are reporting the highest number of recoveries and account for almost 59.3 per cent of the total recoveries in the country (45,87,613), the health ministry said on Friday (September 18) in its daily briefing on COVID-19. Here is a quick lowdown on the status of COVID-19 pandemic in the top five worst-affected states in the country.
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Case Statistics In The Top Five Worst Hit States
The Union Health Ministry’s data shows that Maharashtra is the worst affected state by the pandemic with a count of over 12.4 lakh (12,42,770) cases, as on September 23. It also has the highest number of active cases (2,72,809), recovered cases (9,36,554) and deaths (33,407).
Andhra Pradesh (AP) is the second state after Maharashtra to report over six lakh (6,39,302) cases. AP has reported over 71,000 (71,465) active cases, 5.62 lakh (5,62,376) recoveries and over 5,000 (5,461) fatalities.
In neighbouring Tamil Nadu (TN), there have been 5.52 lakh (5,52,674) cases which include over 46,000 (46,350) active cases, 4.9 lakh (4,97,377) recovered cases and over 8,000 (8,947) deaths.
It’s neighbour Karnataka has reported over 5.33 lakh (5,33,850) total cases, as of now that include over 90,000 (93,172) active cases, 4.3 lakh (4,32,450) recovered cases and over 8,000 (8,228) deaths.
In the northern state of Uttar Pradesh (UP), there are a total of 3.64 lakh (3,64,543) cases, as of September 23 with over 63,000 (63,148) active cases, 2.9 lakh (2,96,183) recovered cases and over 5,000 (5,212) deaths.
In terms of positivity rate, that reflects the proportion of people who test positive among those who are tested, Maharashtra is the worst performing state with a positivity rate of 20.4 per cent which is significantly higher than the national average of 8.5 per cent. Andhra Pradesh (12.1 per cent) and Karnataka (12.2 per cent) also have a positivity rate higher than the national average. Tamil Nadu (8.5 per cent), on the other hand, has a positivity rate that is at par with the national average while in UP (4.2 per cent), the positivity rate is below the national average.
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If we talk about what epidemiologists call as “flattening of the curve” or the scenario where the number of daily new cases are slowing down, which is also considered as the first positive indicator of the pandemic coming under control, as per experts, the situation in the top five states is alarming. As of September 18, there has been no sign of “flattening of the curve” in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. However, in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, over the past 10 days, there has been a slight decrease in the 7-day moving average of daily new cases which provides initial signs of flattening of the curve. A 7-day moving average is a trend indicator which is calculated simply as the average of the new cases reported in the last seven days and gives a series of averages. This helps in ironing out the irregularity and fluctuations in the data by creating a constantly updated average of daily new cases. In the data, where per day fluctuations are too high, 5-day or 3-day moving averages can be used for analysis.
‘R’ rate is another common indicator that can help understand the status of the pandemic in the worst affected states. ‘R’ or the Reproduction Rate indicates a measure of how many people are infected by one person. For example, if ‘R’ is 2, it indicates that one person who is infected with COVID-19 will on an average infect two other people. Those two persons will each go on to infect two more persons and so the transmission continues to spread among the people. According to Professor Sitabhra Sinha, Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMS), Chennai, ‘R’ needs to be driven below 1 for the pandemic to slowly fade away.
The ‘R’ rate of the country continues to be more than 1 and on September 18 it stood at 1.06. Three out of the top five worst-affected states in the country have ‘R’ rate of more than 1. In Maharashtra, ‘R’ rate was as high as 6.25 on March 15 which declined to 1.58, thanks to the stringent lockdown. However, since then ‘R’ has been almost the same and as on September 18, it was 1.11. In Uttar Pradesh (1.02) and Karnataka (1.02) also, the pandemic does not seem to be slowing down as the ‘R’ has been upward of 1 since the start of the pandemic.
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Tamil Nadu (0.97) and Andhra Pradesh (0.93) have been successful in driving ‘R’ below 1 but it is still close to 1. Tamil Nadu (a state where the authorities need to be praised for using only RT-PCR tests and not the less reliable Rapid Antigen Test). But, there has been a worrying uptick in R recently – and while the level of R is still around 1.0, the rising trend in R is a cause for concern. Last month, the state of Andhra Pradesh seemed to have improved as it was showing a downward trend. Thus, urgent measures are needed to ensure that the earlier momentum is not lost. The country’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, has had a consistently high ‘R’ and the virus has been spreading rapidly.
Testing Landscape In Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka And Uttar Pradesh
There are currently, 1,768 testing facilities in the country out of which 94 are in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka has 135, Maharashtra has 165, Tamil Nadu has 174 and Uttar Pradesh has 192 testing facilities.
As of September 18, in Andhra Pradesh tests per million population conducted by the state is around 95,000 which means that for every 10 lakh people in the state, 95,000 samples were tested. It is significantly higher than neighbours Tamil Nadu and Karnataka that have conducted over 83,000 and about 63,000 tests per million respectively. Maharashtra has, on the other hand, conducted even less, 46,000 tests per million and Uttar Pradesh has conducted on about 37,000 tests per million. Thus, Andra Pradesh turns out to be a leader in testing while Uttar Pradesh, a state with the highest population lags woefully behind and needs to ramp up its testing significantly.
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Essential Healthcare Facilities
According to the Department of Health, Medical and Family Welfare, Andhra Pradesh, there are 19 (4 government and 15 private) COVID dedicated hospitals that are equipped to provide care to severely ill patients, 67 (18 government and 49 private) COVID Healthcare Centres that provide care for all cases that have been clinically assigned as moderate, and 275 COVID Care Centres that provide care for cases that have been clinically assigned as mild, very mild or suspect cases.
As on September 18, Andhra Pradesh has 21,254 hospital beds, 86,816 quarantine beds, 34,844 quarantine room and 3,519 quarantine halls.
In Tamil Nadu, there are 240 private hospitals, 166 government hospitals, and 29 COVID Care Centres, according to the state’s Health and Family Welfare department.
In Maharashtra, there are 533 COVID dedicated hospitals with 47,401 isolation beds and 10,238 ICU (Intensive Care Unit) beds; 833 Dedicated Health centres with 47,301 isolation beds and 4,520 ICU beds; 1,936 COVID Care Centres with 2,55,363 isolation beds, as per the data provided by the Public Health Department of Maharashtra.
In Karnataka, there are 33 dedicated hospitals, 246 quarantine centres and 323 isolation centres.
Uttar Pradesh has 25 hospitals that are equipped to care for critical patients, 75 hospitals dedicated to COVID patients with moderate symptoms and 326 COVID Care Centres.
According to Dr Subhash Salunke, Senior Advisor with Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), to be able to control the surging cases, the states are highly recommended to rope in the citizens to take responsibility for themselves amid the ongoing pandemic. As the lockdown continues to relax, the movement of the people is increasing, thus making it even easier for the virus to spread. He further recommends easing access to testing. He also recommends improving care for critical patients in order to save lives.
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