India coronavirus numbers explained, Nov 20: After 47 days, more new cases than recoveries

India coronavirus numbers explained: The result was a minor increase in the number of active cases, which has been falling steadily for almost two months now.

India coronavirus numbers explained: After 47 days, India on Thursday reported more number of new cases of coronavirus infection than those who were declared to have recovered from the disease. The result was a minor increase in the number of active cases, which has been falling steadily for almost two months now.

A total of 45,882 new cases were detected on Thursday, slightly higher than the 44,807 who were declared to have recovered.

Recoveries exceeding detection of new cases is the clearest sign that the spread of the disease is being contained, if the trend is maintained over a long time. In India, this trend has been holding since the third week of September, almost two months now. There is no guarantee that the number of new cases would not rise again, as has happened in the United States and Europe, and even in Delhi and Kerala, which are all experiencing second or third wave of infections. But till the time this trend holds, it gives much-needed breathing space to healthcare authorities, because the number of active cases begins to go down. It also provides hope to people that if they continue to take protective measures, they could keep the disease at bay.

In India, active Covid-19 cases have become less than half of what it was two months ago. This is all the more remarkable since the reduction has happened during the festival season, and has also survived a state election in Bihar.

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The break in the trend, as happened on Thursday, can only be seen as an aberration right now. Daily data released by the state governments are not uniform. They do not necessarily contain numbers only from the day these are released. For example, many states release their data in early afternoon, and most probably have numbers from the previous day. Also, there is a lag in every stage of reporting, because of which there is a delay of two to three days, sometimes even more, before a case gets reported. That is why, it is much better to look at trends than at individual day’s data to get a more accurate picture.

With Thursday’s addition of nearly 46,000 new cases, the total number of confirmed infections in the country has crossed the 90-lakh mark. Of these, more than 84.28 lakh, or nearly 94 per cent, have recovered from the disease, while over 1.32 lakh patients have died.

Delhi and Kerala continue to contribute the maximum number of Covid cases in the country. On Thursday, Delhi reported over 7,500 new cases, while Kerala had about 5,700.

Meanwhile, a new study in Pune has come up with an interesting finding. Almost 85 per cent of the people who were found infected in five areas of the city in a serosurvey conducted three months earlier, have now been confirmed to have developed ‘protective’ antibodies. This means that nearly 85 per cent of those who had been infected in these areas developed immunity against the disease.

Serosurveys estimate the spread of a disease in a population group by trying to detect the presence of disease-specific antibodies in the surveyed people. But everyone who has developed antibodies is not guaranteed immunity against the disease. Immunity comes from the presence of what are known as ‘protective’ or ‘neutralising’ antibodies, a small subset of the antibodies.

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The Pune study was the first exercise in which the results of a serosurvey were followed up with an attempt to assess the level of ‘protective’ antibodies in the population group. Read together with the results of the serosurvey conducted in July and August, this means that of the nearly 51 per cent of the population that had already been infected with the virus by that time, about 85 per cent had gained immunity against future infection. 📣 Express Explained is now on Telegram

It is not clear how long would these people remain protected from further infection. That is still an open question. But this is the first documented case in the country in which disease prevalence had become so widespread that the concept of herd immunity could be seen to be playing out in small measure. The areas in Pune which were found to have the highest disease prevalence during the serosurvey were subsequently seen to have a much lower rate of incidence of new cases.

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