Over the past month, the 30 most populous districts in India, accounting for roughly a sixth of India’s population, have reduced the number of active covid cases to 45,349 (on 11th August) from 81,500 (on 12th July). The number of deaths and weekly new cases have also dropped, enabling relaxation of lockdown rules. However, there are differences in vaccination coverage, raising concerns about a resurgence in covid cases in some of these districts.
A month ago, Pune, Thane, Bengaluru Urban and Mumbai each had over 10,000 active cases. Now, except for Pune, none of the top 30 districts have over 10,000 active cases. Thane saw the biggest reduction in the number of cases, both in absolute number of cases (down by 10,358) and adjusted for population (1041 for a million people). Similarly, the number of weekly new cases in the top 30 districts came down by over 8000 to 22,000 cases at present, led by Thane, Pune and East Godavari. The number of weekly deaths has dropped to 364 from 999 a month ago, with Pune, the district with highest toll in this group, seeing its deaths down to 108 in the past week.
However, while the vaccination coverage has improved across these districts, the pace of improvement has been very uneven. Five districts have received less than 200 per 1000 population. 12 of these 30 districts increased vaccination coverage by 100 doses per 1000 population over the past month, led by Patna, Bengaluru Urban and Ahmedabad. The bottom two, both in West Bengal, increased it by less than 60 per 1000.
Globally, Bangladesh retained its top spot among the 10 most populous countries in the weekly increase in vaccination coverage, with a growth of 36.8% this week even though its vaccination coverage still remains low at 11.7 partially vaccinated people per 100 population. But Bangladesh is not the only Asian country in this list to have ramped up its vaccination pace. Indonesia, the Philippines, and Japan all recorded a faster pace of vaccination compared to India over the past week.
Japan’s acceleration follows a surge in cases after the summer Olympics. It reported a 7-day moving average of 13,967 daily cases in the past week, thrice more than 3,787 cases at the beginning of the event. Japan has so far partially vaccinated 83.6 people out of 100, lagging only China and the United States. Meanwhile in the US, several companies have mandated vaccines for employees as cases in the country increased by 84% in the last 14 days. Across countries, vaccination coverage increased to 16.38% this week, up from 6.7% last week.
New reported cases in India decreased by 6% in the past week, following an increase of 5.33% in the previous week. Yet, there are pockets of concern. According to government data, 37 districts in India are still reporting an increasing trend in daily new cases in the last two weeks. Kerala has 11 of these districts, followed by Tamil Nadu (7), Himachal Pradesh (6), and Karnataka (5).
Amravati in Maharashtra has reported the sharpest week-on-week increase in cases – it has had 1129 cases in the past seven days, up from 243 in the last week and 72 two weeks back. It is followed by Bilaspur, Chamba, and Hamirpur, all from Himachal Pradesh. In each of these districts, cases went up by at least 142% in the past week. The Himachal Pradesh government has re-imposed lockdown restrictions, merely nine days after lifting them.
Deaths in India due to covid-19 were down by 5.60% in the past week, a steeper decline than previous week’s 1.31%. 10 states and union territories have reported an increase in deaths this week, but all except Kerala, from a lower base. Kerala has once again reported an increase of 20.55% in deaths this week after reporting a decline of 10.24% last week.
Overall, none of the states have reported 1000+ deaths this week. Maharashtra saw a sharp decline as deaths reported in the state dropped by 24.58% in the past week, from 1265 to 954. There are two districts, both from Odisha, which are still witnessing an increase in mortality on a higher base. Even though deaths in Odisha decreased very marginally in the last week, Khordha and Cuttack saw a jump of 81.48% and 73.33% in deaths to 147 and 78 respectively.
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