NEW DELHI: Is India’s surge in Covid-19 cases over the last month attributable to higher testing? Not quite. Most states have more cases than they would have had if cases had risen at the same rate as tests (expected cases).
Nationally, the gap between the actual cases and expected cases was 9% as of Sunday morning. For instance, if Andhra Pradesh’s cases had risen proportionately with testing in the past one month, the state would have had a little over 55,400 cases on July 25.
In reality, there were 88,671 cases, 60% higher than the expected value. Similarly, Karnataka had 85,870 cases, which was 30% higher than the 66,000odd expected cases. In 13 of the 21 large states, the case count was more than 10% higher than the expected value calculated on the basis of increase in testing. In seven of these, the actual case count was more than 20% higher than the expected count.
Apart from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, these were West Bengal, Kerala, Jharkhand, Odisha and Bihar. In Assam, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, J&K and Punjab actual cases were between 10-20% higher than the increase in cases based on increased testing alone.
In UP, Rajasthan and MP, the gap between expected and actual cases were 9.7%, 8.3% and 5.5%, respectively. Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana were the only big states where expected cases based on increase in testing were more or less in sync with the actual increase in cases (the gap was between plus/minus 5%).
For Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, the actual cases were a bit higher than expected cases. In Gujarat and Haryana, the actual case count was slightly lower than expected value. Delhi, had 8.4% fewer cases than the expected value based on increase in testing.
At the national level, the expected value of cases based on increased testing over the last month should have been 12.3 lakh, but the actual count was 9% higher at 13.4 lakh on July 25. The analysis by TOI is based on data compiled by covid19india.org, a dashboard made by volunteers who collate Covid data from state bulletins and official handles of state governments.


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