Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: The rising trend of novel coronavirus cases in India mirrors the worldwide trend. The Covid-19 cases posted a sharp spike in EU countries and USA during the second week of March. In India, too,  the Covid-19 cases have been on the ascent since March second week.

But the major shift observed here is n-CoV positive cases in India didn't display a consistent linear rise, unlike in US and Italy.

However, many experts have argued that low testing rate of novel coronavirus in India is responsible for the low count of Covid-19 cases. So does a higher test rate has any co-relation with detection of more cases?

Consider the instances of South Korea, Russia, Spain, Italy and US. S Korea is the only country to have conducted the most number of Covid-19 tests in the world.

South Korea has conducted a massive 3.16 lakh tests, but the confirmed cases stood at around 8,652 or 2.7 per cent of total tests conducted.

Similarly, Russia tested a whopping over 1.4 lakh samples. But the positive rate stood at 0.1 per cent.

In contrast, Spain sent 30,000 samples for test. The positives totalled to over 17,144. And the positive rate is over 50 per cent.

Similarly, US has conducted over 1 lakh tests, and the positive rate stood at over 14 per cent. In case of Italy, the positive rate is 20 per  cent.

The above analysis clearly showed absence of any direct co-relation between confirmed Covid-19 cases and higher number of test samples.

Now, consider the case of India. On March 20, out of a total of 14,514 tests conducted, a total of 191 were found Covid-19 positive. The Covid-19 positive rate then had been estimated at mere 1.3 per cent.

Covid-19 tests India

As on March 27, the total samples sent for test counted at 27,688 and the number of positives stood at 691. The positive rate is estimated at around 8.9 per cent.

Latest data shows the positive rate in India remaining static at 8.8 per cent as on March 28.

It needs mentioning here that tests conducted in India between March 20 and March 28 increase by around 86 per cent. And the positive rate has also grown by nearly 8 times, given that the positive rate has moved up from 1.3 per cent on March 20 to 8.8 per cent on March 28.

The above analysis crystal clearly points to existence of a direct co-relation between number of samples tested and rise in positive counts of Covid-19 cases in India.

This analysis also explains why besides a total lockdown in country, the novel coronavirus cases are rising every day.

Will a paradigm shift be observed from next week? Apparently, not so. The Covid-19 suspected cases in the country has grown by 23 per cent to touch 933 on March 28 vis-a-vis around 750 on March 25.

The moot point then is will India Covid-19 graph rise the US or Italy way?

As of now, the chances are low. A look at the comparative graph outlines the future scenario quite well. It has been observed that rise in test samples in India didn't show any consistent rise in Covid-19 cases like USA and Italy.

For instance, in US, the Covid-19 cases started moving upwards from March 18. The count of n-CoV tripled in just 5-days. In next 4-days, positive cases grew by 3.6 times. In the week ending March 28, the Covid-19 cases have tripled in every 5-days.

However, in India, as on March 28, the cases took nearly 5 - days to only double.