Corona Surprise: India likely to peak by July-end

Looking at the current published data, it looks like India is likely to peak at 25000 new daily cases by the end of July. By then India would have 1.5 million total cases. India is currently at 0.32 million total cases and daily addition of 12000 cases. Daily addition rate will reduce to below 10000 sometime in September by when India will hit 2 million total cases.

Over the last one month, daily growth rates have reduced from 5.1% to about 3.9%, at a rate of 0.04% daily. Assuming this sort of reduction for the next month and half, India is likely to peak at nearly 25000 new cases daily by the end of July.

Maharashtra is Key: Biggest reason why this might succeed or fail is because of Maharashtra. The state was adding about 6-7% cases new cases daily a month ago, that has reduced to about 3.5% now, lower than the national rate. The reason why this will also fail is because while Cases in Maharashtra are up four fold in a month, testing is up only 2.8 times. This might be understating the numbers. Lower testing may be artificially boosting India’s performance. This will show up in the death rates over the next 2 weeks. If death rates per 1000 cases go up, be assured that India’s peak news cases will arrive only in August.

Next 9 States are equally important. There are 9 other States where growth rates are quite high and must be capped in the next 7 weeks

  • Haryana has added 39% more cases in last 5 days
  • Assam has added 38%
  • Delhi has added 30% in 5 days
  • TN is up by 28%
  • Telangana is up by 27%
  • Odisha is up by 24%
  • Bengal is up 24%
  • Andhra has added 21% in 5 days
  • UP by 20% in 5 days

These 9 States plus Maharashtra will have to keep slowing growth gradually to be able to to hit peak new cases by July end after which daily case rate will start going down. Accepted that there are many ifs and buts, however, for most Indians, some visibility of the end game may sustain them in the lockdown for a longer time.