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COVID-19 positivity rate declines for the first time since May

In a positive development in India’s coronavirus situation, the Covid-19 positivity rate in the country has come down for the first time since May. The Covid-19 positivity rate had been on the rise for the past three months, reaching a peak of 9.01 per cent on August 9. The positivity rate began to decline after August 9 and has reached 8.72 per cent in the country now. To put it in perspective, the positivity rate shows the average number of people who are testing positive out of the total number of tests conducted in the country. Till August 9, amongst every 100 tests conducted, an average of nine people were testing positive which is now progressively declining.

Importantly, the sign of slowing down of the infection appears more potent if one were to also take into account the fact that in most states only target testing is being done under which only close contacts of an already infected person is tested rather than random testing of people. The decline in the positivity rate would have been more substantial if more random testing was being conducted as people in contact with a Covid positive person are more likely to turn positive.

Among the reasons which could have led to a decline in the positivity rate is the fact that a large number of people without ever knowing contracted the virus and even recovered from it in many areas. Take for example the case of Pune where the serological survey suggested that about 51 percent of the population was infected in the city. With half of the people having recovered from Covid-19, the virus finds fewer carriers to travel and infect more people.

The daily tally of Covid-19 has also been hovering between 60,000 and 65,000 cases for more than two weeks now hinting at slowing down the infection in the country. In comparison the tally of daily Covid-19 cases remained in the 50000 range for only eight days after which it graduated to 60,000 cases a day. Similarly, it took less than a week for the Covid-19 cases tally to cross from 30,000 to 40,000 and from 40,000 cases to 50,000 cases a day.

More importantly, the drop in the positivity rate has been seen consistently since August 9 even as the number of tests conducted in a day is constantly increasing. In the first week of August, the country was testing 6.5 lakh samples a day which has increased to about 8.5 lakh tests which are being conducted today. With more testing, the number of positive cases would also have been increasing if the infection had remained unabated. However, the positivity rate has been declining and the daily tally of Covid-19 cases hovering in a stable range.

While these are early signs and do not conclusively prove that the spread of the virus has reached a peak in the country, however it does offer some signals that the infection of Covid-19 is getting curtailed in some small regions of the country. – The Indian Express