Transmission of COVID-19 in India has increased to an extent over the past week, yet the rate remains significantly lower than that the global rate.
On March 19, every positive case in India was transmitting the virus to 1.7 people on average. By March 26, that number had risen to 1.81, but remained significantly lower than in countries such as Iran or Italy, according to Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai scientist Sitabhra Sinha.
For comparison, a study in The Lancet estimates the global transmission rate of COVID-19 — the number of persons infected by every positive case — to be between 2 and 3.
“By the end of the month about 1,500 live infections,” Sinha estimated, speaking on March 26. “By April 5, just upward of 3,000, and in the worst case, will just cross 5,000. There has been a slight upward shift of the slope of the exponential curve after March 16. However, the effect of the lockdown should also bring down the growth rate somewhat, but we’ll only know by how much after a week.”
With this low growth rate, it took one month for India’s COVID-19 case numbers to climb from three to one thousand. Comparing this month’s case growth to South Korea’s first month of cases shows that India’s curve has recently become flatter than that of the other country at a corresponding stage. The death rate has remained flatter as well.
In fact, a comparison of the first 30 days of six different countries’ case counts shows that India has had a lower growth than South Korea, Spain, Iran, and Italy, but not Singapore.
It is important to note, however, that due to testing discrepancies, these country-reported numbers taken from the World Health Organization are dependent on the amount of conducted tests. Also, these numbers are subject to change depending on a variety of factors, such as the effectiveness of India’s 21-day quarantine.