This Article is From Apr 20, 2020

Rahul Gandhi Was Right, Suggest India's Increasing Covid-19 Cases

Last Thursday, Rahul Gandhi held a press conference. Like millions of Indians, I did not watch it. In fact, I only got interested when three disparate friends, who do not know of each other's existence, sent me a cleverly-edited meme of Rahul's presser, that poked fun at the Wayanad MP's excessive use of the word 'strategic'. Evidently, my friends found it funny, and it confirmed their bias that Rahul indeed was a pappu.

So I went to the Congress party's YouTube channel and watched what Rahul had to say. He began with a 'strategic' statement that he didn't intend to criticize the government, but only to give constructive support and advice. The single-point message from Rahul Gandhi was that the lockdown is a necessary instrument, but it can only slowdown the coronavirus, it cannot stop it. To really defeat the virus, and "get ahead" of it, India needs to dramatically ramp up testing.

Government-friendly media outlets immediately started attacking Rahul Gandhi for saying the lockdown wasn't enough. Memes were created to ridicule him. Those who backed him were called 'lockdown cynics' despite the fact that Rahul had never questioned the validity of the lockdown. He said, right at the top, that the lockdown serves the purpose of giving authorities the "time and space" to put medical and economic systems in place, to build an "architecture" for a long-term battle against the coronavirus.

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Responding to questions in an hour-long interaction, Rahul Gandhi said COVID-19 cannot be controlled; it has to be dynamically managed (File photo)

In fact, the rate at which Coronavirus cases have exploded over the past few days shows that Rahul got it absolutely right. Across the world, lockdowns are being increasingly recognised as 'blunt instruments' - a bazooka to kill a bee. To understand this, think of a family of five in a scenario where there is large-scale random testing. One family member tests positive, even before they begin to show symptoms of the disease. That person is quickly taken away from the home to isolation centres to minimize the chance of spreading it to other family members.

On the other hand, if testing is done only after they start showing classic COVID-19 symptoms and the entire family is quarantined together, chances are they will spread it to a majority of other family members as well. Studies show that the viral load is the highest, and a patient most infectious, in the first week of showing symptoms. The longer one delays  isolating a positive case, the more likely they are to spread it to close contacts. This is even more dangerous if asymptomatic spreaders get stuck in a house with other healthy family members. They do not qualify to be tested and they are in constant close contact with a small group of people in a closed environment.

In fact, disease data from across the world, including India, shows that the disease spreads the most easily amongst family members. Data from Beijing showed that 86 percent of positive cases caught the virus from family members. Beijing officials said in late March, that "the rate of transmission amongst family members was 17 percent, while the rate of transmission from contact with ill people in other social settings has been only 3 percent. Another study done in Guangzhou suggests that over 10 percent of 'household contacts' caught COVID-19 from patients in their family, making this group the most vulnerable.

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Over 17,000 coronavirus cases, including 543 deaths, have been reported from across India

So if one person gets COVID-19 and then passes it on to others in the family, we will see a sudden multiplication in cases, within just a few days. This will continue till everyone in the family - or the full number of people in a household - gets infected. The curve will first appear to go up exponentially by the factor of average family size, and then flatten once the limit is reached. Testing only those who are ill or their close contacts will increase the sampling bias in this curve. That's because someone who has the symptoms probably will test positive, and since family members are the most susceptible group, they too, will show up as positive cases, even if they are asymptomatic.

Waiting for symptoms creates another kind of testing bias. Someone tests positive after they fall ill and authorities try to trace all their contacts in the previous 14-day incubation period. The contacts are tested and quarantined. Since the rate of transmission amongst non-household contacts is not that high, the chances are that very few of the contacts traced will test positive. While testing family members alone will make us think the disease is spreading faster than it really is, testing only contacts of positive cases could make us think the disease is under control.

That could well be the reason for the paradoxical disease data in India. Over the past four days, since Rahul Gandhi's press conference, the number of cases has gone up by 60 percent despite a strict lockdown. ICMR's testing data tells us that as of April 19, 3.83 lakh people had been tested for COVID-19 and 17,615 were found to have the virus. That's a positive rate of just 4.5 percent. In the US on the other hand, 19.8 percent of those tested had positive results. The WHO has reportedly said, that the rate of positive cases needs to be between 3 percent to 12 percent for lockdowns to be ended.

What is striking is that India's low rate of positive cases is despite a very low testing rate. On April 19, we had tested about 27,000 people, whereas the USA is testing more than five times that number every day, even though its population is one-fourth of ours. Only 291 out of every million Indians have been tested for the virus, whereas the US has done 12,000 tests per million people. In Germany, that number is close to 21,000, in Italy it is over 22,000, Spain has done nearly 20,000 tests per million, Iceland over 1,20,000 & UAE over 77,000 tests per million.

These paradoxical numbers - low positive rates on a very low testing rate shows that there is something wrong in our disease data. If the positive rate is so low, then there is no real logic behind extending the lockdown. Testing more and more people, whether they are showing symptoms or not, is the only way to take well-informed policy decisions of when and how to come out of the lockdown. Anything else will be like shooting in the dark and the social, economic and psychological costs of that could turn out to be too high for India to afford. 

(Aunindyo Chakravarty was Senior Managing Editor of NDTV's Hindi and Business news channels.)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

World

19,66,15,634Cases
6,33,31,644Active
12,90,85,240Recovered
41,98,750Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 194 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 19,66,15,634 and 41,98,750 have died; 6,33,31,644 are active cases and 12,90,85,240 have recovered as on July 30, 2021 at 9:37 am.

India

3,15,72,344 44230Cases
4,05,155 1315Active
3,07,43,972 42360Recovered
4,23,217 555Deaths
In India, there are 3,15,72,344 confirmed cases including 4,23,217 deaths. The number of active cases is 4,05,155 and 3,07,43,972 have recovered as on July 30, 2021 at 8:00 am.

State & District Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
DistrictCases
Akola757
Aurangabad1974
Dhule228
Jalgaon1039
Mumbai45478
Mumbai Suburban5363
Nagpur692
Nashik1575
Palghar1421
Pune9920
Satara629
Solapur1291
Thane13660
Yavatmal150
Ahmednagar190
Amravati291
Beed54
Bhandara41
Buldhana88
Chandrapur32
Hingoli208
Jalna201
Kolhapur646
Latur139
Nanded176
Nandurbar42
Parbhani78
Raigad1462
Ratnagiri350
Sangli145
Gadchiroli42
gondia69
Osmanabad125
Sindhudurg114
Wardha11
Washim13

6290156 7242

81933

6075888 11032

132335 190

DistrictCases
Chittoor319
Guntur511
Krishna557
Kurnool795
Sri Potti Sriramulu Nell*296
Anantapur428
East Godavari356
Prakasam104
Srikakulam183
Visakhapatnam103
West Godavari199
Y.S.R.205
Vizianagaram23

1962049 2107

21279 280

1927438 1807

13332 20

DistrictCases
Bengaluru Rural40
Bengaluru Urban529
Mysuru107
Bagalkote103
Ballari60
Belagavi337
Bidar219
Chikkaballapura149
Dakshina Kannada179
Dharwad61
Gadag45
Kalaburagi669
Mandya346
Tumakuru36
Uttara Kannada95
Vijayapura201
Chamarajanagara0
Chikkamagaluru19
Chitradurga14
Davangere204
Hassan205
Haveri24
Kodagu4
Kolar29
Koppal5
Raichur369
Ramanagara3
Shivamogga67
Udupi1176
Yadgir538

2901247 2052

23277 685

2841479 1332

36491 35

DistrictCases
North Goa57
South Goa69

170900 90

1077

166679 93

3144 2

DistrictCases
Chengalpattu1314
Chennai23324
Kanchipuram503
Madurai322
Namakkal83
Ranipet133
Thanjavur130
Thiruvallur774
Thiruvarur67
Tiruppur116
Vellore71
Virudhunagar185
Ariyalur444
Coimbatore188
Cuddalore477
Dharmapuri15
Dindigul175
Erode75
Kallakurichi324
Kanniyakumari110
Karur88
Nagapattinam99
Perambalur133
Pudukkottai53
Ramanathapuram119
Salem258
Sivaganga46
Tenkasi103
The Nilgiris17
Theni129
Tiruchirappalli119
Tirunelveli433
Tirupathur45
Tiruvannamalai496
Tuticorin333
Villupuram509
Krishnagiri43

2555664 1859

21207

2500434 2145

34023 28

DistrictCases
Kannur357
Kottayam73
Alappuzha76
Idukki40
Kasaragod333
Kollam118
Kozhikode90
Malappuram119
Palakkad224
Pathanamthitta98
Thiruvananthapuram104
Thrissur106
Ernakulam60
Wayanad36

3349365 22064

155327 5287

3177453 16649

16585 128

DistrictCases
Raipur46
Korba100
Balod41
Baloda Bazar85
Balrampur17
Bastar2
Bemetara21
Bijapur2
Bilaspur100
Dantewada0
Dhamtari6
Durg31
Gariyaband10
Janjgir-Champa56
Jashpur77
Kabirdham52
Kanker19
Kondagaon0
Korea39
Mahasamund54
Mungeli87
Narayanpur0
Raigarh47
Rajnandgaon52
Sukma0
Surajpur9
Surguja14

1001781 130

2086

986175 270

13520

DistrictCases
Hyderabad2475
MedchalMalkajgiri75
Ranga Reddy183
Suryapet87
Vikarabad40
Warangal Urban32
Adilabad22
Jagitial77
Jangoan8
Jayashankar Bhupalapally9
Jogulamba Gadwal40
Kamareddy11
Karimnagar17
Khammam26
Kumuram Bheem Asifabad8
Mahabubnagar30
Mancherial43
Medak11
Nalgonda33
Narayanpet3
Nirmal21
Nizamabad76
RajannaSircilla16
Sangareddy26
Bhadradri Kothagudem5
Mahabubabad10
Mulugu3
Nagarkurnool8
Peddapalli5
Siddipet7
Wanaparthy1
Warangal Rural4
YadadriBhuvanagiri40

643716 623

9188

630732 746

3796 3

DistrictCases
Baleshwar190
Bhadrak137
Jajapur322
Dhenkanal36
Kalahandi33
Kendrapara164
Khordha238
Koraput16
Sundargarh102
Anugul26
Balangir129
Bargarh16
Boudh34
Cuttack155
Deogarh33
Gajapati61
Ganjam581
Jagatsinghapur91
Jharsuguda8
Kandhamal28
Kendujhar34
Malkangiri20
Mayurbhanj73
Nabarangpur2
Nayagarh86
Nuapada69
Puri103
Rayagada2
Sambalpur16
Sonepur29

974132 1615

15276

953088 2039

5768 65

DistrictCases
Barwani60
Bhopal1880
Dewas140
Dhar132
East Nimar266
Gwalior211
Indore3839
Jabalpur276
Ujjain799
Agar Malwa15
Alirajpur3
Betul35
Burhanpur351
Chhindwara16
Dindori29
Harda4
Hoshangabad37
Khargone196
Mandsaur112
Morena109
Raisen71
Ratlam51
Sagar228
Shajapur39
Shandol14
Sheopur26
Tikamgarh18
Vidisha37
Anuppur22
Ashoknagar13
Balaghat9
Bhind87
Chhatarpur35
Damoh26
Datia12
Guna8
Jhabua14
Katni3
Mandla15
Narsinghpur17
Neemuch319
Niwari0
Panna20
Rajgarh31
Rewa39
Satna24
Sehore12
Seoni2
Shivpuri15
Sidhi17
Singrauli13
Umaria10

791796 18

130

781153 18

10513

DistrictCases
Ahmadabad17125
Anand107
Arvalli134
Banas Kantha147
Bhavnagar146
Gandhinagar410
PanchMahals107
Surat2311
Vadodara1555
Bharuch56
Botad55
Chhotaudepur37
Dang5
Dohad43
GirSomnath45
Jamnagar63
Kachchh99
Kheda98
Mahesana159
Mahisagar125
Narmada25
Naysari35
Patan105
Rajkot135
SabarKantha101
Surendranagar55
Tapi6
Valsad47
Amreli16
DevbhumiDwarka22
Junagadh31
Morbi4
Porbandar11

824829 27

268

814485 33

10076

DistrictCases
Ajmer379
Banswara91
Bharatpur563
Jaipur2177
Jhalawar329
Jodhpur1748
Kota503
Nagaur500
Alwar90
Barmer34
Bhilwara250
Bikaner112
Chittorgarh188
Churu81
Dausa61
Dholpur60
Dungarpur374
Hanumangarh31
Jaisalmer53
Jhunjhunu64
Karauli17
Pali352
Rajsamand140
SawaiMadhopur26
Sikar231
Tonk171
Udaipur724
Baran59
Bundi5
Ganganagar8
Jalore164
Pratapgarh14
Sirohi130

953622 17

259

944410 26

8953

DistrictCases
Faridabad867
Sonipat404
Ambala93
Bhiwani60
CharkiDadri43
Fatehabad38
Gurugram2950
Hisar98
Jhajjar114
Jind38
Kaithal48
Karnal104
Kurukshetra55
Nuh68
Palwal120
Panchkula39
Panipat78
Rohtak145
Sirsa50
Yamunanagar19
Mahendragarh47
Rewari56

769858 30

712 10

759516 17

9630 3

DistrictCases
Agra933
Aligarh215
Amroha80
Bareilly17
Bijnor157
Bulandshahr166
Firozabad190
Gautam Buddha Nagar1119
Kanpur Nagar286
Lucknow386
Mathura129
Meerut504
Moradabad252
Muzaffarnagar117
Rae Bareli78
Rampur203
Saharanpur298
Sant Kabeer Nagar132
Varanasi243
Auraiya37
Ayodhya120
Azamgarh138
Baghpat68
Bahraich73
Balrampur49
Banda27
Basti214
Bhadohi60
Budaun23
Etah52
Etawah46
Ghaziabad794
Ghazipur159
Gonda59
Gorakhpur166
Hapur225
Hardoi49
Jalaun41
Jaunpur194
Jhansi41
Kannauj69
Kasganj16
Kaushambi6
Mainpuri46
Mau48
Mirzapur22
Pilibhit15
Pratapgarh15
Prayagraj30
Sambhal116
Shamli40
Shravasti23
Sitapur32
Sultanpur97
Unnao42
Ambedkar Nagar92
Amethi206
Ballia60
Barabanki168
Chandauli38
Chitrakoot4
Deoria143
Farrukhabad36
Fatehpur3
Hamirpur3
Hathras43
Kanpur Dehat4
Kheri72
Kushi Nagar67
Lalitpur3
Maharajganj85
Mahoba3
Shahjahanpur25
Siddharth Nagar159
Sonbhadra10

1708373 60

784 16

1684834 44

22755

DistrictCases
Central4817
East2472
New Delhi3405
North3059
North East1914
North West5463
Shahdara1580
South2329
South East2446
South West2391
West4768

1436144 51

554

1410541 70

25049

DistrictCases
Dhubri30
Goalpara19
Marigaon50
Baksa14
Barpeta28
Biswanath16
Bongaigaon12
Cachar80
Charaideo29
Chirang6
Darrang20
Dhemaji47
Dibrugarh61
Dima Hasao86
Golaghat203
Hailakandi57
Hojai89
Jorhat24
Kamrup42
Kamrup Metro276
KarbiAnglong13
Karimganj85
Kokrajhar37
Lakhimpur57
Majuli2
Nagaon143
Nalbari23
Sivasagar20
Sonitpur27
South SalmaraMancachar4
Tinsukia84
Udalguri28
West KarbiAnglong5

564030 1299

14114

544695 1664

5221 20

DistrictCases
East District3
North District0
South District3
West District0

26132 276

3297 180

22498 92

337 4

DistrictCases
Buxar134
Gaya115
Munger188
Patna279
Rohtas256
Arwal52
Aurangabad75
Banka134
Begusarai243
Bhagalpur266
Bhojpur103
Darbhanga143
Gopalganj123
Jehanabad178
Kaimur (bhabua)105
Lakhisarai72
Madhepura82
Madhubani199
Nalanda123
Nawada122
PurbiChamparan138
Purnia135
Saran101
Siwan139
Vaishali87
Araria68
Jamui47
Katihar175
Khagaria253
Kishanganj75
Muzaffarpur96
Pashchim Champaran57
Saharsa88
Samastipur139
Sheikhpura118
Sheohar20
Sitamarhi73
Supaul87

724719 46

481 1

714596 42

9642 3

DistrictCases
24 Paraganas North1031
24 Paraganas South281
Darjeeling97
Howrah1435
Jalpaiguri88
Kalimpong18
Kolkata2777
Maldah235
Medinipur East153
Medinipur West159
Hooghly604
Murshidabad125
Nadia139
Paschim Bardhaman70
Purba Bardhaman130
Alipurduar39
Bankura116
Birbhum206
Coochbehar210
Dinajpur Dakshin50
Dinajpur Uttar216
Jhargram9
Purulia66

1526539 766

11300

1497116 822

18123 14

DistrictCases
South Andamans33
Nicobars1
North And Middle Andaman1

7534 3

10 3

7395

129

DistrictCases
Pondicherry111
Karaikal2
Mahe4
Yanam0

120725 98

972 49

117961 49

1792

DistrictCases
Anjaw0
Changlang31
Dibang Valley0
East Kameng0
East Siang1
Kamle0
KraDaadi0
KurungKumey0
Leparada0
Lohit3
Longding0
Lower Dibang Valley0
Lower Siang0
Lower Subansiri0
Namsai2
PakkeKessang1
Papum Pare8
Shi Yomi0
Siang0
Tawang1
Tirap0
Upper Siang1
Upper Subansiri0
West Kameng0
West Siang1

47477 335

4252

43000 383

225 1

DistrictCases
Dimapur20
Kiphire3
Kohima7
Longleng0
Mokokchung0
Mon8
Peren2
Phek1
Tuensang3
Wokha0
Zunheboto0

27653 67

1299

25798 114

556 4

DistrictCases
Dadra And Nagar Haveli20

10643 1

36

10603 6

4

DistrictCases
Ranchi148
Bokaro16
Deoghar5
Dhanbad32
Garhwa80
Giridih19
Hazaribagh110
Jamtara2
Koderma58
Simdega48
Chatra1
Dumka5
East Singhbum170
Godda2
Gumla28
Khunti10
Latehar14
Lohardaga8
Pakur4
Palamu27
Ramgarh75
Sahebganj0
SaraikelaKharsawan20
West Singhbhum21

347105 56

259 22

341720 34

5126

DistrictCases
Gomati74
North Tripura14
Dhalai196
Khowai24
Sepahijala174
South Tripura53
Unakoti49
West Tripura45

78059 271

3640

73665 488

754 4

DistrictCases
Kargil77
LehLadakh43

20324 4

60

20057 8

207

DistrictCases
Anantnag395
Bandipora175
Shopian255
Srinagar300
Baramulla271
Budgam110
Ganderbal37
Jammu138
Kathua53
Kulgam295
Kupwara231
Rajouri39
Ramban151
Reasi26
Samba25
Udhampur155
Mirpur0
Muzaffarabad0
Doda27
Kishtwar10
Poonch35
Pulwama108

321207 181

1144 5

315686 175

4377 1

DistrictCases
Chamba29
Hamirpur117
Kangra105
Sirmaur11
Solan32
Una41
Bilaspur21
Kinnaur2
Kullu4
Lahaul And Spiti0
Mandi21
Shimla10

205728 229

1098 145

201110 84

3520

DistrictCases
Jalandhar297
Ludhiana293
Patiala132
Amritsar485
Barnala25
Faridkot74
Firozepur50
Gurdaspur154
Hoshiarpur140
Kapurthala44
Mansa31
Moga65
Pathankot86
S.A.S Nagar137
Sangrur107
Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr)99
Sri Muktsar Sahib71
Tarn Taran163
Bathinda60
Fatehgarh Sahib57
Fazilka53
Rupnagar (Ropar)74

599005 58

553

582162 60

16290 4

DistrictCases
Haridwar94
Dehradun370
Nainital323
Almora71
Bageshwar31
Chamoli36
Champawat45
PauriGarhwal36
Pithoragarh43
Rudraprayag30
Tehri Garhwal110
Udam Singh Nagar83
Uttar Kashi24

341982 48

669

333952 51

7361

DistrictCases
Bishnupur7
Chandel5
Churachandpur32
Imphal East10
Imphal West21
Jiribam3
Kakching2
Kamjong5
Kangpokpi26
Noney1
Pherzawl3
Senapati6
Tamenglong2
Tengnoupal9
Thoubal18
Ukhrul4

96824 1000

10895

84408 1016

1521 11

DistrictCases
Chandigarh313

61948 5

37 1

61102 4

809

DistrictCases
East Khasi Hills22
East Garo Hills0
East Jaintia Hills0
North Garo Hills1
Ribhoi0
South Garo Hills0
South West Garo Hills4
South West Khasi Hills0
West Garo Hills5
West Jaintia Hills1
West Khasi Hills1

63745 731

5750 294

56933 423

1062 14

DistrictCases
Aizawl10
Champhai0
Hnahthial0
Khawzawl0
Kolasib11
Lawngtlai2
Lunglei2
Mamit8
Saiha0
Saitual1
Serchhip0

37171 764

11862 252

25168 511

141 1

DistrictCases
Lakshadweep District0

10162 7

70

10042 13

50