India’s trajectory of daily cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has now overtaken Brazil’s and stands second only to that of the United States, indicating that India may be beginning to close the gap on the South American country.
In the seven-day period between July 16 and July 22, India reported 269,969 new Covid-19 cases against Brazil’s 260,962 —the second and third most daily cases in the world. This is the first time the weekly cases in India have eclipsed those in Brazil. In the seven days before that, India reported 200,159 new infections while Brazil reported 254,713, according to HT’s dashboard and Worldometers.
The United States continues to report the highest number of new cases with nearly half a million new cases (478,899) coming in the past week.
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To be sure, Brazil, with 2,231,871 cases of Covid-19 against India’s 1,238,374 (both as of Wednesday night) has nearly a million more cases than India, so India may not be overtaking Brazil in total cases any time soon. The US, meanwhile, has more cases than Brazil and India combined — 4,100,875 as of Wednesday.
Together, these three countries continue to account for a large majority of new cases. In the last week, the three worst-hit nations are responsible for more than 1 million (60%) of the 1.6 million new cases reported across the world.
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DIFFERENCE IN TRAJECTORY
America’s journey to becoming the worst-hit country in the world has been on the back on two massive case spikes. The first was centered in the country’s north-east with states such as New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania reporting high cases. This plateaued in about a month with new cases dropping through May and June. Towards the end of June, a bigger second spike was reported in new epicentres in states such California, Texas and Florida, pushing new cases to record highs again.
In Brazil, the first case in the country reported on February 25, and cases started rising almost immediately in the country’s north and north-east. By early May, Brazil had more than 100,000 cases; with the number of cases doubling every 10 days.
In June itself, the country reported nearly a million new Covid cases. However, cases appear to have hit a plateau in the past two week, averaging around 35,000 new cases every day, against nearly 39,000 in the first week of July.
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Unlike the other two nations, the caseload in India has grown gradually and has not had any abrupt spike. However, this may not entirely be good news because it also means that the country has not seen any plateau. While the new case trend lines for the first two countries are uneven, India’s has been steadily growing while showing no drop in cases so far. With almost all states (except Delhi) reporting record high cases over the past two weeks, this trajectory is not yet exhibiting signs of slowing down.
But there are other similarities between the three countries as well — perhaps explaining the extended trajectory of the pandemic in them. The US is the world’s third largest country by geographical area, Brazil fifth, and India seventh. As the infection wanes in one part of the country, it waxes in another. In terms of population, India is the second most populous country in the world, the US third, and Brazil sixth. Expectedly, per capita infection and death numbers are low for all three countries compared to smaller and less populous nations.