India still far away from COVID-19 peak

India has the world’s third highest COVID-19 case tally and is quickly nearing the 30-lakh mark. Despite the rising rate it may have to wait to hit its peak, a State Bank of India analysis says

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NH Web Desk

India has the world’s third highest Covid-19 case tally and is quickly nearing the 30-lakh mark. Despite the rising rate it may have to wait to hit its peak, a State Bank of India analysis says.

However, with most states yet to reach their peaks and rural districts increasingly reporting a larger share of cases, India still has a long way to go in its fight. Coronavirus has not only brought health menace to India but also hampered the economy.The SBI report estimates that GDP loss from Covid could be in the double digits and, apart from the toll it takes on livelihoods, the economic impact of the outbreak will be visible in an increase in the death rate in Indian states.

The report estimates an increase in mortality if a state’s GDP falls by 10% or more. The average loss across all states in Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) is 16%. 0.5% to 3.5% is the increase in death rate including the additional mortality due to Covid-19 even as states respond with “unplanned exit from lockdown and fresh lockdowns across states”, the report said.Given the level of GSDP loss and the health infrastructure of the states, it is a grim picture indeed.38 lakh crore is the total GSDP loss due to Covid-19, it represents about a sixth of states’ cumulative GSDP. In the last 15 days, India has reported 10 lakh Covid-19 cases. Since July 30, India has an average of 58,000 cases per day but is yet to peak, or reach its highest level of daily new cases.

SBI estimates that India will reach its peak of cases when it hits 75% recovery rate, based on trends in other countries. India’s recovery rate currently stands at 71%.However, the data doesn’t necessarily show a causal relationship between recovery rate and peak. Hitting a peak doesn’t mean the pandemic has reached its end — countries will likely still see cases and deaths increase, albeit at a slower pace, and may even hit new peaks if proper precautions aren’t kept in place.

Several states, like Delhi and Tamil Nadu, are estimated to have already hit their peaks. But states like Maharashtra, Telangana, Bihar and West Bengal are yet to reach their peaks as their test positivity rate remains high despite a low tests per-million level. The SBI analysis says at least 22 of the 27 states it studied have yet to hit their peak.

The time taken for India’s cases to double has been shrinking as the case tally grows. India took 65 days to reach 1 lakh cases but only another 59 days to reach 10 lakh cases. India’s current doubling rate is 22 days, at par with the US and Argentina, and among the world’s lowest. The world average is 43 days.India has also recorded one of the highest deaths per million in Asia, though not nearly as high as values reported in Europe and the US.It is also on the top of chart in average number of cases in last one week.

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