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| Last Updated:22/04/2024

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World’s worst outbreak

 By Jamie Mullick, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

PUBLISHED ON APR 22, 2021 03:25 AM IST

The most worrying factor right now remains how fast daily cases are continuing to grow, and how the trajectory is exhibiting no clear signs of approaching a peak still.


With 315,909 new cases of Covid-19 in India on Wednesday, the country broke not only all its previous daily records, but also earned the grim distinction of reporting the most single-day infections in any country ever.


After Wednesday’s tally, the seven-day average of new cases in the country now stands at 264,838 a day – higher even than America’s third wave, which peaked at 255,961 cases a day for the week ending January 11. This means that India is not only the largest outbreak in the world right now, but also the largest outbreak ever recorded in the world.


A total of 2,102 people lost their lives to the viral disease across India on Wednesday, also the single-day record for the country, as the relentless expansion of the outbreak under the second wave continued to spark shortages of hospital beds and other crucial supplies such as oxygen and medicines.


Till Wednesday, 15,924,697 confirmed Covid-19 infections and 184,693 deaths have now been reported across the country, according to HT’s dashboard.


The previous record for most cases in a single day anywhere in the world was set when the US, which is the world’s worst-hit country with 32.5 million cases and 582,000 deaths, reported 307,581 new cases on January 8, 2021, according to global case data tallied by


The most worrying factor right now remains how fast daily cases are continuing to grow, and how the trajectory is exhibiting no clear signs of approaching a peak still.


The country’s daily case tally crossed the 100,000 mark for the first time on April 6 when 115,320 new infections were reported. It just took another nine days for the daily case tally to breach the 200,000 mark for the first time (there were 216,913 new cases on April 15). From there, it took only six days to cross the 300,000 mark.


The daily case trajectory has now grown 62% in the last week. If this rate of case increase continues, then the country is on the pace to be reporting an average of half a million cases every day in as little as 10 days, shows data.


The average positivity rate – the proportion of tests that return positive for Covid-19 – has now soared to 17% in the past week, the highest ever recorded in the country. This number, which is a crucial statistic that shows how prevalent the virus is in society, is rising still – on Tuesday (the latest data for which national testing numbers are available) 18% of tests came back positive.


The trend is similar in most of the country – weekly average positivity rate is rising in all of India’s 20 most populous states, despite the testing rate being the highest ever maintained. On average, 1.5 million samples have been tested every day in the country, the highest ever.


In Chhattisgarh, which reported 14,519 cases and 193 deaths on Wednesday, nearly one out of every three tests (29.8%) has come back positive in the past week – the highest in the country — and has gone up 2.8 percentage points from the week before. Delhi (24,638 cases and 249 deaths on Wednesday) has seen the biggest increase in average positivity rate in the past seven days – it went from 11% on April 14 to 26.3% in the last week. In Maharashtra, the country’s worst-hit state with 67,468 cases and 568 deaths on Wednesday, on average a quarter (24.9%) of tests have come back positive. It is similar in Madhya Pradesh, where 23.1% of all tests have come back positive (up 7 percentage points in the last week). In Andhra Pradesh, average positivity rate has risen 8.9 percentage points (from 10.2% to 19.1%), while in West Bengal and Haryana it has gone up over 7 percentage points (from 11.1% to 18.1%, and from 10.8% to 18.5%, respectively) in the past week.


The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that the average positivity of an area should ideally remain below 5% if the region is testing adequately.


“Of the 740 districts in the country, the Covid-19 positivity rate is more than 15% in 146 districts. These regions are a cause for concern for both the Union government as well the respective state governments as the local health care system is facing the strain of rising cases. We have held detailed discussions with the local governments to narrow down on a strategy to ... stop the chain of transmission there,” said Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan during the health ministry’s weekly Covid-19 press briefing on Wednesday.