NEW DELHI: After staying under 4 lakh for four days, India’s daily Covid cases surged to a record-shattering high of 4.10 lakh on Thursday while the deaths rose by nearly 4,000.
India has now been reporting over 3 lakh cases daily for the last 14 days while its active cases have swelled to over 3.5 million.
Moreover, the fresh surge reported from the southern states like Karnataka and Kerala has triggered worries that the peak may still be some distance away.
A tsunami, quite literally
From nearly 41,000 cases on March 23 to over 4.10 lakh cases on March 6, India has witnessed a 10-fold jump in daily infections in just 1.5 months.
Earlier this week, the country crossed the grim milestone of 2-crore Covid infections since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Such is the devastating impact of the second wave that over a quarter of these 2-crore cases came in just the last 14 days.
In fact, since witnessing its first six-figure addition of daily cases on April 4, India has added a whopping 85 lakh cases to its tally.
In the first 5 days of May alone, India has added close to 2 million infections.
Every 2nd person infected globally from India
Due to the vast size of population still vulnerable to the virus, India has been dominating the global surge of daily Covid cases during its second wave.
On May 5, India accounted for nearly 57% of all Covid cases reported around the world. In comparison, the worst Covid-hit country US accounted for just over 6% of the total global infections.
During the first wave of the virus, India was contributing about 18% of the total global cases.
As far as overall caseload is concerned, India accounts for nearly 13% of all infections reported in the world since the start of the pandemic.
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High positivity rate
But what is particularly worrying about India’s second Covid wave is the high positivity rate.
India has been logging a national daily positivity rate of 20% for the last 10 days. In other words, it means that 2 out of every 10 samples tested returned positive for the infection.
Why is this a sign of worry?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended 5% positivity rate as the maximum threshold for easing restrictions. Anything beyond that is considered too high.
According to John Hopkins University, a high percent positive means that more testing should probably be done.
This means that the spread of the virus in the community is even worse than what’s being reported.
Moreover, there are high density states which are reporting a positivity rate much higher than even 20%.
Delhi and West Bengal for instance reported a weekly positivity rate of over 30%. According to the Union health ministry, Rajasthan’s weekly positivity rate was over 62%.
Maharashtra has been the epicenter of both the first and second Covid waves in India and continues to be the worst-hit state.
However, several other states are also witnessing an unprecedented spike in cases.
Karnataka on Wednesday became the second state after Maharashtra to report over 50,000 daily Covid cases. Kerala too has been reporting a steep surge in cases and became only the third state to report over 40,000 infections in a day.
Meanwhile, the cases are also surging rapidly in states like Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The bulk of the active Covid cases are in Maharashtra. It is followed by Karnataka and Kerala which have over 4.8 lakh and 3.7 lakh active cases respectively, according to the Union health ministry.