India becomes global epicentre of COVID-19 as death count pass 50,000 mark

India becomes global epicentre of COVID-19 as death count pass 50,000 mark

August 16, 2020   07:17 pm

For a few weeks now, the question has been if India can correct its course or is it going to become the world’s biggest Covid-19 hotspot? But now that question has been answered - India has become the global epicentre of the pandemic.

For the first time since the beginning of the outbreak, India’s seven-day average of daily new cases has been higher than the United States or Brazil. For one straight week, it has consistently reported more new cases each day than the other two countries.

However, weekly averages are an important metric, as the US and Brazil, and India to a lesser extent, see a drop in new cases at the beginning of every week - likely a result of weekend closures of testing labs - followed by a rise through the week. So while comparing single days might give misleading answers, weekly averages are more reliable.

On August 11, according to Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering (JHU CCSE), India had a weekly average of over 60,000 new cases each day, well over the US and Brazil.

This moment has been weeks in the making; the graph of the three countries shows Brazil beginning to flatten the curve by the end of July, and the US beginning to reverse its second wave around the same time. The Indian line in the graph is undeterred - it has grown without pause since the beginning of its outbreak.

And it’s only going to get worse; cases are consistently growing far faster in India than in Brazil or the US, doubling every 24 days in India as against every 47 days in Brazil and every 65 days in the US. The doubling time has been increasing steadily in Brazil (indicating a slowing outbreak), and rapidly in the US after its second wave. India is yet to see a substantial or rapid increase in the doubling time of cases.

On July 22, the US hit its peak, with a weekly average of over 67,000 new cases - the highest the world has seen. India is set to surpass that record soon; current trends show the number of new cases it is recording each day is only growing.

And while India has so far done much better than the other two countries in terms of deaths, that too seems set to change going by the trends.

The weekly average of reported deaths in Brazil has flattened, and the US could be heading towards a recovery after its second wave. India again has seen no reduction or pause; on the contrary, daily reported deaths keep growing, and it could soon surpass the only two other countries that currently report more deaths each day than it.

On Sunday, August 16, India breached the 50,000-mark in terms of fatalities, becoming only the fourth country in the world to do so after the United States, Brazil and Mexico. More than a fourth of these deaths were in the first 15 days of August.

India’s position as the epicentre is now established, but how long it will take to flatten the curve is unclear so far.

Source: India Today

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