India's Covid graph continued to show an upward trend as the country reported 44,230 new cases on Friday, the most in three weeks, amid fears of another wave of infections. The spread of the disease - which had eased off after a peak of four lakh daily cases in May - has forced at least one state to lock down while movement restrictions are in place in some northeastern states reporting a rise in infection rates.
The R-factor, which indicates the speed at which COVID-19 infection is spreading in the country, has inched up in the past week with Kerala and the Northeastern states reporting a steady rise in cases.
Kerala has been reporting over 22,000 cases for three days now and accounts for more than 37 per cent of India's active cases, according to government sources. The southern state continues to have an R-value around 1.11.
An R-value of 0.95 means, every 100 infected people on an average pass on the infection to 95 other individuals. If the R-value is lesser than one, it means the number of newly infected people is lower than the number of infected people in the preceding period which means the disease incidence is going down.
"Looks like it will remain in the top spot for the next couple of weeks. The Northeast continues to have a very bad situation with most states having R-value more than one," Sitabhra Sinha of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, who is leading the team that analysed the R-value, was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
The spike in infections in Kerala has forced the Centre to send a team for effective COVID-19 management there.
Neighbouring Karnataka on Thursday recorded a steep spike in Covid cases. The southern state reported 2,052 new cases, 34 per cent more than Wednesday's tally of 1,531. At least 505 cases were reported from state capital Bengaluru.
The government estimates that 67.6 per cent of the 1.35 billion population already have antibodies against the coronavirus. More than 45.55 crore vaccine doses have been administered in the country so far, according to the health ministry.
When the second wave of the COVID-19 infection was at its peak, the overall R-value in the country was estimated to be 1.37 between March 9 to April 21. It declined to 1.18 between April 24 and May 1 and then to 1.1 between April 29 and May 7, according to the analysis.
Between May 9 and 11, the R-value was estimated to be around 0.98. It dropped to 0.82 between May 14 and May 30 and further to 0.78 from May 15 to June 26. The R-value however rose to 0.88 from June 20 to July 7 and then to 0.95 from July 3-22.
The number of cases globally has risen by eight per cent in the last week and now affects 194 million people, the World Health Organisation said recently, adding the biggest numbers of cases were reported in the US, Brazil, Indonesia, the UK and India.
The number of coronavirus deaths globally jumped by 21% during the period, it said.
"If these trends continue, the cumulative number of cases reported globally could exceed 200 million in the next two weeks," the UN health agency was quoted as saying by news agency Associated Press.
With inputs from agencies