Even as the rest of the country is seeing an accelerated increase in the number of new Coronavirus cases reported every day, the western Indian state of Gujarat has is reporting a surprising decline in the number of active cases every day. It has also shown a remarkable stability in the number of new COVID-19 cases reported every day.
While the rest of India has seen a 32% jump in the number of active Coronavirus cases in the last eight days, Gujarat has seen a 33% fall during the same period.
In terms of actual numbers, the number of active COVID-19 cases in the rest of India has risen to around 96,300 from 73,100 over the last eight days, while in Gujarat, it has fallen from 6,944 to 4,646.
As a result, Gujarat’s share of the total active Coronavirus cases in India has nearly halved to 4.6% from 8.6% in just eight days.
Almost every state has seen an increase during this period (see chart below).
The key to Gujarat’s success has been its ability to keep new Coronavirus cases limited to a strict band of around 365 cases per day.
Unlike other states, the number of new Coronavirus cases reported by Gujarat does not vary much from day to day.
In fact, in the last 30 days, the number of new COVID-19 cases in Gujarat has remained within the band of 324 to 438, except on one occassion (see chart of daily additions below).
On the other hand, the number of recoveries and deaths per day have varied, just like in other states.
The number of recoveries, for example, has ranged from 119 per day to 1,114 per day, while deaths have varied from 20 to 49.
This has also meant that Gujarat has been able to report more and more recoveries in the last few days, even as new cases remain stable in the 360-430 range.
A total of almost 4,000 people have recovered in the last five days alone, nearly double the number of fresh cases added.
In contrast, a state like Tamil Nadu has reported nearly twice as many new cases, at 5200, compared to recoveries, at around 2850, during the same period.
Some have expressed skepticism at Gujarat’s low additions per day, and suggested that it may be a result of poor testing and contact tracing.
However, testing numbers in Gujarat — while low on an overall basis — are not very different from those of other states when viewed in proportion to the number of positive cases.
Over the last few days, Gujarat has been testing around 4,000 samples per day, out of which around one in ten have turned out to be positive. This means that it has been testing 10 new people for every positive case reported.
This is in fact better than Delhi and Maharashtra, where the ratio is in the range of 6-7 people tested for every positive case.
However, compared to certain other states, testing numbers in Gujarat are still very low.
The neighboring state of Rajasthan, for example, has been testing around 15,000 people per day in recent days, despite finding only around 280 new cases per day, compared to around 400 for Gujarat.
According to experts, in areas seeing community transmission, 50 people should be tested for every single positive case detected.
So far, only a few states can claim to have met that benchmark. For example, Gujarat is testing only 10 new people for every new case reported, while Maharashtra and Delhi are only testing 6-7 extra people.
Rajasthan, on the other hand, is testing 50-55 new people for every positive case reported.
Kerala, whose additions has spiked to around 60 per day, has also ramped up testing to 3,000 per day, maintaining the 1:50 ratio between new cases and tests.
Karnataka, with around 12,500 tests against 250 new cases/day, is also at the 1:50 mark.
On an all India level, the country is testing around 1,20,000 per day. Since the number of new cases are around 8,300 per day, this gives India a case:test ratio 1:14, well below the recommended 1:50 level.
Some other states too are doing well.
Uttar Pradesh is testing around 10,000 people per day, against a daily addition of around 300 new cases, giving it a respectable case:test ratio of 1:33.
However, Bihar’s numbers are similar to that of Gujarat, as it is testing only around 2000 people per day against new cases of around 200, giving it a 1:10 ratio.
Tamil Nadu, despite conducting 12,000 tests per day, has a low ratio of 1:12 because it is detecting around 1,000 new Coronavirus positive cases per day.