No exponential rise in Covid-19 cases in India

22,000 Cases, 700 Deaths, as of April 23: Maharashtra , Gujarat, Delhi and Rajasthan are the worst affected States


NEW DELHI / NEW YORK (TIP): Government of India said , Thursday, April 23 that the rise in coronavirus cases in the country has been more or less linear, not exponential.

The country is experiencing 4.5 per cent positive cases among the tested people, which is similar to the situation a month ago before the lockdown was imposed, added the Centre.

“No new case of Covid-19 was reported from 78 districts in the last 14 days. A total of 388 patients were cured in one day, the recovery rate is 19.89 per cent. There are 33 new districts in nine states from where no new case was reported in the last 14 days,” said Luv Agarwal, Joint Secretary at the Union Health Ministry.

The total number of confirmed cases in India is 21,393. While 4,257 people have been cured so far, 681 persons have succumbed to the dreaded virus. The number of active cases in the country is 16,454. In the last 24 hours, 1,409 positive cases were reported from across the country.

“We have scaled up nearly 33 times in 30 days. We need to consistently ramp up testing”,

CK Mishra, Chairman of Empowered Group 2, at a press conference said, “On March 23, we had done 14,915 tests across the country and on April 22, we did more than 5 lakh tests, and as per a rough calculation, we have scaled up nearly 33 times in 30 days. We need to consistently ramp up testing.” Mishra said.

Mishra said the focus of the government is on the districts.

“Our focus is on the districts now. The way positive cases moved in India, the growth is more or less linear and not exponential. Certain strategies are in work to contain it to a particular level. Beyond this, looking at the story of positive cases in these 30 days, we are more or less in the same position where we were one month ago. Among those tested, 4.5 per cent cases have returned positive,” added Mishra.

He insisted that through the lockdown, the government has been able to minimize the spread of the infection, cut the transmission rate and increase the number of days in doubling of the cases.

“One crucial weapon we employed during the 30-day lockdown period is RT-PCR test to ascertain if one has contracted the disease or not.”

Of the empowered groups formed to suggest measures to ramp up healthcare, put the economy back on track and reduce misery of people once the lockdown is lifted, Mishra is the chairman of Empowered Group Two tasked with coordinating availability of hospitals, isolation and quarantine facilities, disease surveillance, testing and critical care training.

“The growth of Covid-19 cases has been more or less linear, not exponential; this indicates that the strategies we adopted have succeeded in containing the infection to a particular level. Post imposition of lockdown, while the number of new positive cases has increased by 16 times, testing increased by 24 times,” Mishra said in his presentation.

“During the 30 days of lockdown, we have been able to cut transmission, minimize spread and increase the doubling days of COVID-19. We have been able to consistently ramp up our testing and utilize our time preparing for the future in case the virus spreads further,” he said.

Mishra also said that in the last month, the number of dedicated hospitals for treating coronavirus patients has been increased 3.5 times and the number of isolation beds rose by 3.6 times.

“Despite a 24-fold increase in testing, percentage of positive cases is not rising. The percentage of positive cases as a ratio of testing is more or less the same as that a month ago,” he said.

Mishra also claimed that India has done better than a majority of developed countries with respect to the percentage of test cases yielding positive results.

“We need to evolve our strategy based on the current position… We seem to be doing well so far with our strategy which is intensely focused on areas where we see a lot of positivity and action happening. Our testing strategy has been focused, targeted and continues to expand,” he said.

The assessment of  medical specialists  is that the containment has worked well, considering the low number of new cases surfacing. However, in view of the scant scope for testing , the number of those infected may not be known too soon. The coming weeks will unfold both the number of news cases and the rate of deaths. They caution that the seeming situation may prove deceptive if the guard is taken off. They will like the government not to hurry to get the nation back to work.

(With input from agencies) 

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