India on Wednesday reported its lowest active caseload of Covid-19 in five months at 3,86,351. The Union health ministry said the active caseload comprised 1.21 per cent of all Covid-19 cases in India.
In absolute numbers, this figure is still higher than the lowest active caseload recorded after the first wave of Covid-19 pandemic — 1,33,079 on February 11.
Back then, the total Covid-19 cases were 1,08,80,439. In percentage terms, the active caseload on February 11 stood at 1.22, slightly higher than Wednesday morning’s figure.
However, the worry for India is the double-digit growth in Covid-19 cases in about half-a-dozen states and Union Territories over the past week and R-factor hitting the danger-line in some of the states. R-factor is the reproduction rate in an active disease outbreak signalling how many persons can get the infection from one infected person.
STATES WITH GROWING CASELOAD
There are at least six states and Union Territories with double-digit weekly growth in active cases, according to data compiled by covid19india.org.
These states are Himachal Pradesh, with 165 per cent weekly case growth, Madhya Pradesh with 28.2 per cent, Jammu and Kashmir with 20.2 per cent, Kerala with 17 per cent, Ladakh 16.7 with per cent and Nagaland with 16 per cent.
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Two other states have registered weekly case growth — Tamil Nadu at 7.1 per cent and Karnataka 1.2 per cent.
Among these states, Kerala has remained a worry for far too long. Kerala still shows a weekly test positivity ratio of over 13 per cent.
Three other states have double-digit test positivity ratio — Manipur at 14 per cent, Mizoram 10.5 per cent and Sikkim 10.9 per cent.
If R-factor is lower than 1.0, it is considered safe in scientific management of a disease outbreak. The Union Health Ministry last week sounded an alert saying Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Lakshadweep, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram, Karnataka, Puducherry and Kerala were showing high reproductive numbers.
On Tuesday, the Health Ministry additionally flagged R-factor of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa and Nagaland.
The Health Ministry said Punjab reported R-factor of 1.3 with a daily increase in Covid-19 cases. Himachal Pradesh has an R-factor of 1.3, Uttar Pradesh 1.1 and Andhra Pradesh 1.0.
Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have an R-factor of 1.1 while Goa and Nagaland have 1.0. The Health Ministry interpreted it as stabilisation in Covid-19 situation in most states but with a “profound word of caution” for some others where strict containment strategies may have to be enforced.
‘PROFOUND WORD OF CAUTION’
Overall, India’s R-factor hovers around 1.2. Incidentally, the R-factor for the US and Australia is also at 1.2 and both countries have seen a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases.
The comforting news, however, is that only 44 of over 700 districts in the country are reporting a case positivity rate of over 10 per cent. Among them, 37 districts are showing an increasing trend in average daily Covid-19 cases.
Here too, Kerala leads with 11 districts of concern, followed by Tamil Nadu seven, Himachal Pradesh six, and Karnataka five.
Incidentally, these four states contributed 24,769 fresh Covid-19 cases in the national tally of 38,376 reported in the 24 hours as of Wednesday morning, according to the data compiled by covid19india.org. They account for 64.5 per cent of daily Covid-19 cases in India.