Covid19 – We are probably not ready to relax the Lockdown

(This is a guest post by Sanjeev Prakash)

It’s been two weeks since India took a step towards a historic lockdown which effectively put 1/6th of the world’s total population in their home prison. Using the data that is available in the public domain, we have tried to evaluate the last 14 days.

The Effect of “India Lockdown” – India is doing much better 

On 25th March, when we updated the Covid19 Projection Model (CPM19) with the latest data, the projected number for India according to our CPM19 was around 31.6K cases. With the lockdown, as on 7th April, the number for 15th stands at 15.6K cases. It’s been 24 days since India reported its 100th case. India seems to be doing much better when compared to other countries on their 24th day after reporting the 100th case. (CPM19 Performance numbers are shared at the end of the article)

CountryDate of (100th Case)Date24 days laterTotal Cases on 24th DayDaily Avg Growth%
India15 Mar7 Apr5,35117%
Italy23 Feb17 Mar31,50620%
USA2 Mar25 Mar68,36733%
Iran26 Feb20 Mar19,64412%
South Korea15 Feb9 Mar8,0869%
Spain1 Mar24 Mar49,51526%
Germany1 Mar24 Mar32,99225%
France29 Feb23 Mar19,85621%

In the next seven days most of the countries doubled their cases with the exception of Korea and the US. If we take that trend we should be around the 11k mark. When we take the worst case scenario by extrapolating the US trend we could be at around 16K cases.

CountriesDate of (100th Case)Date 31 days laterTotal Cases after 7  daysMultiplication Factor
Italy23 Feb24 Mar69,1762.2
USA2 Mar1 Apr215,2153.1
Iran26 Feb27 Mar32,3321.6
Korea15 Feb16 Mar8,7991.1
Spain1 Mar31 Mar104,1182.1
Germany1 Mar31 Mar71,8082.2
France29 Feb30 Mar44,5502.2

India seems to be well placed even after a month of declaring 100 cases. Besides, even with higher testing our positive % results have not been that high. This has already been discussed in a previous article.

The India Story – Case Drivers

There are eight states that contribute to around 76% of the total cases detected in India so far.

StatesTotal CasesContri%
Tamil Nadu69013%
Uttar Pradesh3326%
Andhra Pradesh3146%
Other States133825%

Amongst these states the positive news is that two states have started showing a downward trend in the lockdown. Two other states seemed to have flattened the trend. The problem is the remaining 4 states that are showing an upward trend even during the lockdown. We take a look at these states individually

Maharashtra – Maharashtra is a prime driver of cases in India. It’s doubling the cases at the fastest pace amongst all states. Even if we look at the daily growth rate of cases, it shows a very clear upward trend.

Tamil Nadu – Tamil Nadu had one big spurt during the lockdown which has really increased its numbers. But overall the state has managed to reverse its growth trend and now seems to be slowing down the trend.

Delhi – Delhi seems to have been impacted adversely because of the religious event and has seen two peaks in the lockdown period. Last few days Delhi seems to be reversing the upward trend

Telengana – Like Maharashtra Telengana is also showing multiple peaks since the lockdown which has resulted in an upward trend line for the state

Kerala – Kerala was the first state that reported Covid19 cases. Kerala was also affected by a huge expat gulf population coming back. But during the lockdown Kerala has actually slowed down and is now showing a downward trend.

Rajasthan – Rajasthan seemed to be managing well until the religious event in Delhi started affecting the number and changed its trend to an upward trend.

Uttar Pradesh – Uttar Pradesh seems to be slowing down after the religious bomb.

Andhra Pradesh – This state had one day when the number grew by more than 2.5 times and post that it seems to be correcting its trend. 

The Bad News

Besides these eight states, Gujarat, Haryana, West Bengal and Jammu & Kashmir are the states with more than 100 cases and they are showing an upward trend.

6 out 10 most populous states (UP, Maharashtra, MP, Rajasthan, WB, TN)  in India are still showing a growing trend. The combined population of these 6 states is 582 million which is more than the population of the US, Italy, France and Spain combined. 

The Good News

Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka are the two states with more than 100 cases that are showing some signs of a slowdown. Though there is a super spreader in Madhya Pradesh who can still wreak havoc.

We have avoided looking at the pre-lockdown period because the real growth in the discovered cases has happened during the lockdown.  This may work to India’s advantage as the growth spurt has happened during the lockdown period. In other countries this happened before the lockdown. The time taken for the lockdown to have an effect, the base had increased so much that even a small percentage increase meant a significant strain on the health services.

In conclusion even though India has been doing much better than some of the other countries during the same period, we are still sitting on a timebomb. India may be better off not removing the lockdown completely. A better strategy would be to start opening states where trends seem to be in control in the lockdown. 

CPM19 Model Performance

As on 8th April the Model is performing well. With the exception of India, the model has correctly predicted for the other countries. For India, it is currently predicting higher numbers due to the spike in cases due to “The religious event in Delhi”. We are hoping that spike is an aberration rather than the norm and are pleased to be predicting a higher number for India.

CountryPredictedActualError Rate
South Korea10382103840%

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.

Collaborators – Parinay Pande


(Views expressed in this article are the author’s personal views and need not represent the views of Healthcare India)

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