The following is a guest post by Sanjeev Prakash
Since my last update, India’s positive cases have almost grown three fold. This, in a period of five days. Although, the spurt has been attributed to a gathering in Delhi, there are some interesting facts that come to light.
Testing vs Positive Rate
There have been a lot of comments on the testing rate and the fact that India has done less tests when compared to the population. That’s true, when compared to all the other countries that are reporting a high number of cases India has tested less.(See Table Below)
The interesting fact arises when we look at the percentage of positive cases w.r.t tests. India’s positive% is the second lowest and almost comparable to South Korea. All the other countries are in excess of 10%, even Germany that has tested extensively.
This could lead to two possible interpretations with respect to India
- The virus is not virulent enough in India or we are showing a better immunity due to vaccinations, environment etc.
There are various theories about this
- That the BCG vaccination strategy in India has led to greater immunity in India
- That the strains of virus in India are not as virulent as those in Europe and the US
- That the hotter weather in India has slowed the progress of the virus
Each of these theories are just that, theories. There is a call from experts asking that these theories not be used to make generalizations, they need to be scientifically tested. Before we sink into a sense of complacency and let our guards down.
2. We are not testing the right people
I am tilting towards the first interpretation. The second interpretation according to me does not hold true because now India has also started testing asymptomatic contacts of positive patients
Effect of the Delhi Religious Event
Looking at the daily growth rates of Indian Cases till day 16 (after reaching 100 cases) India was showing a downward trend. Day 17 (31st March 2020) was the day when cases from the religious events started flashing across the country. This has resulted in the trend being reversed and it’s now showing a slightly upward linear trend.(See Graph “Daily Growth rate….”) Thankfully, the exponential trend curve is still flat.
If we look at the speed at which a country doubles its cases after 100 cases, India has reached almost the average speed of the other countries. India took 3 days to move from 1600 cases to 3200 cases which is the average days taken for the other 7 countries that are part of this study. (See Graph – Days for below)
Predicted Number for 15th
If the daily growth rate does not slow down in the next few days, we are looking at around 56K cases by the end of the lock-down. This takes in account an average daily growth rate of 29% for the next 11 days.
As of today morning my model is correctly predicting the incidence for Italy, Iran, Korea, Spain and Germany. I have taken an allowable limit of +-1% error rate. India’s daily growth rate slowed down a bit yesterday hence the high positive error. (See table below )
Countries with the strictest quarantine strategies have fared better in dealing with the crisis.
“Social distancing was the key in reversing the outbreak in Wuhan and the wider Hubei region. The earlier a lockdown is put in place in the epicentre of an outbreak, the smaller it ends up being.” (https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/a-look-into-key-aspects-of-virus-pandemic/article31201598.ece)
This shall probably help in India’s fight against the pandemic, too.
We can probably conclude looking at the data above that besides the blip due to the religious gathering in Delhi, India seems to have things in control. The factors behind this may be the proactiveness of the administration, the Indian climate, vaccinations, genetics or something else, we shall only know in the days to come.
About the Author
Sanjeev Prakash is an Analytics and Marketing professional with more than 12 years of experience in Analytics, Data Management, Sales, Brand Management, Corporate Communications, Market Research and Customer Relationship Management. Sanjeev has an MBA from IMT Ghaziabad and a degree in economics.
(Article also published on LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/covid19-india-fights-back-sanjeev-prakash/?trackingId=D3q6XmsjQ%2B%2BWS1bIqQe8ow%3D%3D)