Data | Kerala flattens the coronavirus curve but must remain vigilant as 'import' cases still dominate

With high testing and low fatality rates, Kerala’s numbers show promise

Updated - April 16, 2020 11:16 am IST

Published - April 16, 2020 12:55 am IST

Workers spray disinfectant at Kozhikode bus stand.

Workers spray disinfectant at Kozhikode bus stand.

Kerala had the most number of COVID-19 cases 20 days back but reported only one new positive case on Wednesday. With high testing and low fatality rates, Kerala’s numbers show promise but some concerns remain. Recent cases are still “imported” from outside India, even though international travel halted on March 22.

Signs of recovery

The graph shows the seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 cases since the 100th case in States. Kerala’s curve not only flattened, but also started to dip after the 10th day.

How cases progressed in States

image/svg+xml246810121416182022125102050100200Average casesDays since the 100th caseMaharashtraDelhiTamil NaduUttar PradeshTelanganaA.P.KeralaKarnatakaHaryana

(If the graph doesn't appear in full, click here )

None of the other States are mimicking Kerala’s curve. While Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are showing signs of a dip, it is still early days.

Testing rates matter

The graph plots latest fatality rate against tests conducted per million people. The larger the circle, more the number of cases.

Testing rates and fatality rates

image/svg+xml010020030040050060070080002468101214180.93.40Tests per million populationFatality rate (Deaths/cases)DelhiKeralaRajasthanMaharashtraThese seven States in the bottomright (highlighted) have aboveaverage testing rate and belowaverage fatality rate. Kerala isone of themGujaratM.P.T.N.
 

Not only have the number of new cases reduced significantly in Kerala, the fatality rate is among the lowest even as the State’s testing rate is among the highest.

Also read:Coronavirus lockdown guidelines | Industries operating in rural areas to reopen on April 20

Recovery time

The table lists days taken by the first 47 patients* to recover after hospitalisation. Close to 85% of patients recovered within 15 days of hospitalisation.

How long were hospital stays?

image/svg+xmlDaysspent inhospital% ofdischarges5 to 1045%10 to 1540%15 to 204%20 to 2511%

*This does not include the first three Wuhan returnees as the data for them is not accurate.

A new concern

The table lists the patient’s date of arrival in India, date of confirmation as COVID-19 positive for select “imported” cases in Kerala, and the days in between. In some patients’ cases, it took 26 days to be identified. Lately, the no. of such delayed confirmations have increased.

Returnees from abroad testing positive

image/svg+xmlArrivalConfirmedDaysMar 22Apr 817Mar 21Apr 717Mar 21Apr 717Mar 21Apr 818Mar 22Apr 1221Mar 19Apr 921Mar 22Apr 1322Mar 21Apr 1424Mar 21Apr 1424Mar 21Apr 1424Mar 18Apr 1124Mar 17Apr 1125Mar 19Apr 1426Mar 17Apr 1226
 

Last word

While Kerala has recorded a low number of new cases, many of them are “imported” cases. Considering international flights were stopped on March 22 and quarantines were enforced, these delayed confirmations are a cause for concern. Countries like Japan and SIngapore which successfully flattened the curve initially are also seeing a second wave of infections.

Source: Kerala and Central health ministries, The Hindu news reports

Also read:Coronavirus | 170 districts identified as hotspots, says Health Ministry

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