India coronavirus: Trouble ahead for India’s fight against infections

Since the first case of coronavirus at the end of January, India has reported more than 150,000 Covid-19 infections. More than 4,000 people have died of the infection.
To put this in some context, as of 22 May, India’s testing positivity rate was around 4%, the death rate from the infection around 3% and the doubling rate of infection – or the amount of time it takes for the number of coronavirus cases to double – was 13 days. The recovery rate of infected patients was around 40%.
All this is markedly lower than in the countries badly hit by the pandemic.
Like elsewhere in the world, there are hotspots and clusters of infection.
More than 80% of the active cases are in five states – Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh – and more than 60% of the cases in five cities, including Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad, according to official data.
More than half of people who have died of the disease have been aged 60 and older and many have underlying conditions, hewing to the international data about elderly people being more vulnerable to the disease.
The more than two-month-long grinding lockdown, official data suggests, has prevented the loss of between 37,000 and 78,000 lives. A paper published in Harvard Data Science Review appears to support that – it shows an eight-week lockdown can prevent about two million cases and, at a 3% fatality rate, prevent some 60,000 deaths.
“Infection has remained limited to certain areas. This also gives us confidence to open up other areas. It is so far an urban disease,” says VK Paul, who heads the medical emergency management plan on Covid-19.

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