Why is India’s Positivity Rate for Covid-19 Cases keeping on Climbing?

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I have been conducting Data Analytics Studies on the Coronavirus Pandemic for 101 days and have written 159 research-based blog posts on COVID-19 in these 101 days.

Positivity Rate is the percentage of those who have tested positive for Covid-19 out of all people who have been tested.

Look at the graph. India had a cumulative Positivity Rate of just 3.97% on May 17, which has now gone up to 5.95%, an increase of almost 50% in just 33 days. The average Positivity Rate for these 33 days is 7.01%, which has resulted in this huge rise in the cumulative rate.

Why is India’s Positivity Rate going up? In my mind, it is because of 2 reasons: (1) Many more tests are being carried out — average 145,594 tests per day in the past 15 days, compared with average 115,355 tests per days in the 15 days prior to that; and (2) more tests are being carried out by private labs as opposed to a higher percentage being carried out by government labs earlier.

If this is true, it could only mean that private labs’ testing is more accurate than that of government labs. While most people would just believe this on face value, when you consider that the average Positivity Rate of the Top 20 countries (in number of cases) is 7.28%, it becomes even more believable.

India carried out an average of 168,519 tests per day in the past 3 days and recorded an average Positivity Rate of 8.24%. At the same rate, India will cross 500,000 cases in 7.5 days and 750,000 cases in 25.5 days, by which time it would have overtaken Russia to reach the global No.3 rank in number of cases, after USA and Brazil.

However, if we believe the government that the national testing rate will be ramped up to 200,000 tests per day — which now looks like a fair possibility given that we have crossed the threshold of 175,000 daily tests yesterday — and assuming that the Positivity rate remains at 8.24%, India will cross 750,000 cases in 21.5 days and one million cases in 37 days. Yes, India is now staring at the real possibility of recording over 1,000,000 (10 lakh) Covid-19 cases before the end of July.

Since May 17, India’s lowest daily Positivity Rate was 5.29% on May 20, and the highest was 8.68% on June 15. The average for the 19 days in June has been 7.63%.

In comparison, the country with most cases — USA — has a cumulative Positivity Rate of 8.47% and the country with the second highest number — Brazil — has a cumulative Positivity Rate of 9.19%. However, Russia’s cumulative Positivity Rate is just 3.49%, but that may be because Russia has tested 111,846 people per million residents, compared with USA’s 80,759 and Brazil’s 50,341. India has only tested 4,659 people per million.


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LATEST UPDATES (at 9:30 pm UTC; June 19, 2020):

  • The world has crossed 8.733 million cases
  • The global death toll is over 461,400
  • India has reported 395,812 cases and 12,970 deaths. India is No.4 in the world in number of cases (up from No.22 on April 14) and No.8 in number of deaths. Maharashtra state, with 124,331 cases and 5,893 deaths, would rank No.17 in cases and No.16 in deaths if it were a country
  • UK became the 5th country to cross 300,000 cases
  • Iran became the 10th country to cross 200,000 cases
  • Saudi Arabia became the 16th country to cross 150,000 cases
  • Canada became the 18th country to cross 100,000 cases
  • Egypt became the 26th country to cross 50,000 cases
  • 6 countries have crossed 250,000 cases (up from 0 on April 1)
  • 16 countries have crossed 150,000 cases (up from 1 on April 3)
  • 18 countries have crossed 100,000 cases (up from 3 on April 3)
  • 26 countries have crossed 50,000 cases (up from 8 on April 3)
  • 43 countries have crossed 25,000 cases (up from 11 on April 3)
  • 53 countries have crossed 15,000 cases (up from 16 on April 16)
  • 64 countries have crossed 10,000 cases (up from 23 on April 16)
  • Chile became the 20th country to cross 4,000 deaths
  • Egypt became the 23rd country to cross 2,000 deaths
  • 3 countries have crossed 40,000 deaths (up from 0 on April 3)
  • 6 countries have crossed 25,000 deaths (up from 0 on April 3)
  • 16 countries have crossed 5,000 deaths (up from 5 on April 3)
  • 21 countries have crossed 2,500 deaths (up from 7 on April 3)
  • 33 countries have crossed 1,000 deaths (up from 10 on April 3)
  • 45 countries have crossed 500 deaths (up from 16 on April 16)

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