Data

Data | Tracking death rates helps gauge India's COVID-19 response better

Workers in protective suits prepare to cremate the body of a person who died of COVID-19 at Nigam Bodh Ghat in New Delhi on May 29, 2020.

Workers in protective suits prepare to cremate the body of a person who died of COVID-19 at Nigam Bodh Ghat in New Delhi on May 29, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Comparing the COVID-19 case curves of different nations is the most widely used tool to measure the effectiveness of a particular country’s response to the pandemic. However, as the rate of testing differs widely across countries, case curves may not be a sufficient tool. The growth rate of deaths may present a better picture.

India's weekly death rates compared to other countries

The chart depicts the no. of times deaths grew in a particular day compared to a week ago, after the 100th death, in select countries. For instance, on the day India (represented by the black curve) crossed 100 deaths, the total fatalities stood at 103 from 25 a week ago, a four-time increase. So, India’s curve begins at around the 4 mark. In the U.S., (represented by the brown curve), Spain (represented by the red curve), the U.K. (represented by the violet curve) and Italy (represented by the orange curve) the curves are sloping downward after the 100th death. India's and Mexico’s (represented by the green curve) are flat after the initial dip.

Where does India Stand?

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image/svg+xml 20 10 5 2 1 20 1 40 60 80 100 Weekly growth rate (x times) Days after 100th death About 60 days after the 100th death, death rate in India and Mexico continue to be 1.3 times more than what it was a week ago. The death rates of other countries are much lower in comparison
 

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The graphs below depict the same measure as the first graph, but for Indian States since the 10th death.

States which recorded an increase in weekly growth rates

The chart shows the States where the weekly growth rate of deaths has lately moved upward after recording a downward trend.

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image/svg+xml 5 4 3 2 1 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Weekly growth rate (x-times) Days after 10th death Haryana Delhi Telangana T.N.
 

States which recorded ups and downs in weekly growth rates

The chart shows the States where the growth rate of deaths increased once or twice after recording falls, before finally settling on a downward trend.

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image/svg+xml 5 4 3 2 1 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Gujarat Maharashtra W.B. Weekly growth rate (x-times) Days after 10th death
 

States which recorded a decrease in weekly growth rates

The chart shows the States where the weekly growth rate of deaths has mostly been on a downward trend.

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image/svg+xml 1 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Most other States trend. This is the ideal curve where the rate of growth with time. When the curve flattens, the growth rate becomes zero generally follow this of deaths decreases 5 4 3 2 Weekly growth rate (x-times) Days after 10th death
 

The graphs were designed based on the concept propounded in a Reuters story, Breaking the wave.

Source: Johns Hopkins University, State Health departments

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2020 8:51:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/data/data-tracking-death-rates-help-gauge-indias-covid-19-response-better/article31795713.ece

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