India's COVID-19 case decline: Early signs of plateauing or a false dawn?

The number of laboratory tests has shown a dramatic decline


Is the country's COVID-19 curve showing an early sign of plateauing? Or is it that the infection is fast spreading to states which were so far not that affected by the second wave?

At a briefing on COVID updates in the country, joint secretary, Health, Lav Agarwal noted that there was a very early sign, of a probable plateauing of the curve. The total new cases reported over the last 24 hours has dipped to 3.66 lakh, down from the May 1 high of four lakh. Agarwal, however, made no mention of the point that laboratory tests had come down drastically, too.

He similarly compared the death toll of 3,417 in the last 24 hours with the 3,698 figure of a few days ago. He said the following states were showing an early sign of plateauing in the daily new cases graph: Chhatisgarh, Daman and Diu, Delhi, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Ladakh, Lakshwadeep, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Telengana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. 

The dip in some cases is so marginal that it is negligible. For instance, in Madhya Pradesh, the daily rise had dipped from a big high of 13,000 to 12,800. Similarly, Maharashtra has dipped from 65,000 to 62,000 and Delhi from 25,200 to 24,000. 

Is this the first glimmer of a dawn, or will that be a false dawn? For testing have gone down over the last fortnight, especially in the states which are faring the worst as infrastructure gets stressed.

22 per cent of the states show a sample positivity of over 15 per cent, which continues to be a cause for concern. No states have a sample positivity between 5-15 per cent, while only five states have a figure below five per cent.

On the other hand, the government data shows that states, where the curve continues to rise or has begun to rise, are Andaman and Nicobar, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Chandigarh, Haryana, Karnataka Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir as well as the northeastern states, including Sikkim.

There are 12 states with more than one lakh active cases, seven where the active caseload is between 50,000 to one lakh and 17 where the load is below one lakh.