Tracking the Coronavirus outbreak in India


Since first being reported in China late last year, the Covid19 virus has ravaged nearly every country across the world. The worst may be over for the wealthier nations but the crisis is about to turn worse in countries such as India, Bangladesh and others in the African continent. This article reports how the outbreak unfolded in India, the current situation, state-wise analysis and also inspects how India is faring in testing compared to other countries. Despite being faced by a highly contagious virus, a vast majority of people still seem unaware of the risks posed by this pandemic. This report is also an attempt to raise awareness among people about the need of social distancing in this very difficult time. Continue scrolling to learn more.

The coronavirus outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, China in late 2019. Since then, it has turned into a pandemic affecting nearly every country across the world.

The outbreak spread comparatively late in India but the cases are now rising fast in May 2020.

This report explores how the outbreak started in India, analyses the current scenario, state wise analysis and predicts a few scenarios how the outbreak may turn out in the coming months.

Continue scrolling to explore more.

As of May 19 2020, India has over to 100,000 confirmed cases of Covid19. For every 100 cases, one random case is shown as a red dot here.

How did we get here ? How did it all start in India ? We analyse about 2000 early cases which were mapped to known sources.

We trace how the pandemic spread by drawing a link between the source where the patient contracted the virus to the destination where the patient was diagnosed.

Notice how the initial cases were almost exclusively tied to international travel history. In recent weeks, most cases are linked to family members and other close contacts.

What started out as few isolated cases is now a full blown crisis with more than 100,000 cases as of May 19 2020.

Sadly more than 3,000 people (shown as blue dots ) have lost their lives, but the good news is that close to 40,000 (shown as green dots ) have recovered.

We now visualize how the number of daily cases has increased over time since the first reported case in India. Encouragingly, notice how most early patients have now recovered.

Mapping the cases to respective districts, we see how until recently, a vast majority of cases were limited to India's major cities but now the outbreak is rapidly spreading across the country.

Combining cases by state, we notice how the rich and industrialized states have been affected the most. But with migrant labourers now moving back to their homes, there is a risk of cases rising in other states too.

Let us begin state wise analysis by combining all the cases in a state to a single circle, the size of which is based on the number of cases in that state and the color is based on growth rate of cases, green and red are where cases are growing slowly and quickly respectively.

We shall inspect how well are the states testing, by arranging circles based on number of tests per thousand people. The states more towards right are testing more.

We can observe the case density by moving the states on vertical axis based on number of cases per million people. States placed higher up have higher case density.

Based on testing data, we can group states into these categories. States like Bihar and West Bengal have very low testing rate, also worrying is Delhi with very high case density.

To study the case growth rate in different states, we can observe how the number of days to double case count is varying over time for each state. During mid-April, case growth rate seemed to have slowed in many states but sadly that is no longer the trend in May.

That concludes our state wise analysis. Let us now inspect how well is India testing compared to other countries,

India is alongside other populous countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Bangladesh, Indonesia in terms of number of tests conducted.

If we include all the countries most hit by the virus, we notice how poor India's testing rate is.

India's testing rate is abysmally low compared to most other Asian and European countries. Expanding testing to large scale plays a major role in containing the further spread of virus.

Now we get to the question on everyone's mind, when will this be over and when will life get back to normal ?

We built a few prediction models to answer when will India reach its infection peak ? How many cases and deaths per day can we expect at the peak ? When will the outbreak stop ?

We consider three scenarios: Scenario 1: Lockdown extended, Scenario 2: Lockdown lifted but with social distancing, Scenario 3: Lockdown lifted with no social distancing.

Let us now see what the models predict under these three sceanrios. Please note that the models used here is entirely theoretical and does not include a myriad of factors involved in reality. Read more about Why it is so difficult to build prediction models ?

Scenario 1: Lockdown extended

Scenario 2: Lockdown lifted but with social distancing

Scenario 3: Lockdown lifted with no social distancing

The prediction models suggest the outbreak will continue to last till at least August. Although the actual numbers may be very different in reality, what the models do indicate is the dramatic effect of slowing down the virus by following better social distancing.

The world was woefully underprepared in handling this pandemic. Unfortunately most people still seem unaware of the threats posed by this highly contagious virus.

To illustrate how effective the virus has been in spreading itself, let us visualize how the virus conquered India's districts one by one.

The outbreak started in India's metropolitan cities but notice how rapidly it is now expanding to India's hinterland. This is a worrying trend and if left unchecked will turn this crisis into an outright catastrophe.

India's case count as of May 19 is over 100,000 and it is rising at an alarming pace.

Sadly the number of cases and deaths will continue to rise rapidly over next few weeks. It is important not to treat these dots as just statistics instead realise that these each of these dots has a mother, a father, child. Soon this could be someone we know personally.

Unlike most crisis, the Covid19 affected the wealthier nations first, most of which were caught entirely unprepared to tackle the outbreak. With the number of cases now declining in developed nations, the attention will now turn to India, Bangladesh and African countries where the under-equipped healthcare system could quickly be overwhelmed turning this into a humanitarian crisis.

We end this report with the grim reminder that lockdown being relaxed is not a license to venture out unnecessarily. Following strict social distancing goes a long way in slowing the spread of virus.

Let us consider this as a rare opportunity for humanity to fight for a common cause, the onus of which is upon each and everyone of us.

Time to act is now !

For more detailed analysis, check this interactive exploratory tool which lets you inspect and analyse various coronavirus related data and statistics specific to India.

If you are interested in learning more, check this interactive exploratory tool for detailed analysis. You can inspect how well are the states flattening their curves, the top district wise hotspots, daily district wise growth rate of cases, district wise case density, testing and recovery rates of states, districts free of virus. You can also compare India's case trajectory and testing rates with those of other countries.