Corona: Is Assam doing as well as claimed?

Corona: Is Assam doing as well as claimed?
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So an interesting argument on Twitter led to this analysis. It was argued that Assam had so few deaths and so many Tests, it is doing a much better job than Kerala.

In order to benchmark Assam, we will test it against 5 other Poor States – UP, Bihar, MP, Jharkhand and Odisha. Why are we benchmarking against poor states?

  1. Level of urbanisation in all poor states is low making transmission probabilities low and hence comparison would be fair instead of comparing a Mumbai or Delhi where lakhs live in small areas
  2. Median age of most poor States is quite low reducing fatality rates naturally. Most people are quite young making it easier for them to handle Corona
  3. Life Expectancy is much lower than other States means there are fewer old people to start with and thus leading to lesser deaths.

So let us compare quickly on cases per million, deaths per million and tests per million. Bihar is the poorest of these 6 States and Odisha richest, the data is organised from poorest to richest

Total Cases

Bihar – 57 per million

Uttar Pradesh – 60 per million

Jharkhand – 49 per million

Assam – 110 per million

Madhya Pradesh – 142 per million

Odisha – 81 per million

Assam is clearly underperforming Odisha which is higher on per capita. Further, amongst the 6 poor states it is ranked 5th. This is not a bad performance for sure but not the best. That said, if testing is high, it will bring out more cases, let us see if testing is indeed high.

Total Deaths

Bihar – 0.33 per million

Uttar Pradesh – 1.73 per million

Jharkhand – 0.24 per million

Assam – 0.19 per million

Madhya Pradesh – 6 per million

Odisha – 0.29 per million

Even though Assam had the 2nd highest Cases per million, it reported the lowest deaths per million. This is a super performance

Total Tests

Bihar – 1089 per million

Uttar Pradesh – 2103 per million

Jharkhand – 3028 per million

Assam – 5823 per million

Madhya Pradesh – 3246 per million

Odisha – 4414 per million

By a mile, Assam is ahead on Testing. We have seen this before, aggressive testing brings out more cases but also brings down deaths.

So, yes if one looks at the data, Assam has actually done quite well on handling COVID. In fact, there are more cases simply because they are testing more. Good job done!

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