THREAD ON WHETHER THE PANDEMIC IS SLOWING: India has been recording an average of 64,000 cases daily in October, down from more than 86,000 daily cases end September. It's also a steep drop from earlier in September, when daily cases averaged around 93,000. #COVID19 #India 1/11
Daily deaths have been declining in most states. Testing has been consistent. More than 1.1 million samples have been tested daily on an average so far in October, up from 70,000 in August. Last month, 1.05 million samples, on an average, were tested daily. #COVID19 #India 2/11
So, on the face of it, it appears there has been a slowdown in case numbers. But epidemiologists I spoke with say the numbers should be interpreted with caution. 3/11
#COVID19 #India
For one, just high testing and declining case counts may not be enough to come to a conclusion. Half of the tests India is conducting are the rapid antigen ones. They are quicker and cheaper, but also less reliable, with accuracy in some cases as low as 50%. #Covid19 #India 4/11
How much of India's declining case numbers have been contributed by these rapid tests, and how much of it is a real slowdown is difficult to say, Dr Shahid Jameel, a leading virologist, told me. #Covid19 #India 5/11
India has also allowed on-demand testing, which may inflate test numbers of asymptomatic persons, according to Dr K Srinath Reddy, president of @thePHFI. #Covid19 #India 6/11
On the other hand, antibody surveys and epidemiological models suggest that India's hidden infections remains large. India already has around 120-130 million infections, estimates @BhramarBioStat of @UMich. That's less than 10% of the population. @Covid19 #India 7/11
Countrywide antibody tests alone suggest 90 million Indians - about 15 times the official caseload - have had the infection. There is still a lot of forest left for the virus to spread like wildfire says @BhramarBioStat #Covid19 #India 8/11
So what would be the best way to assess if the pandemic is slowing? Track deaths, suggests Dr Reddy. "Even if there is some underreporting, a sustained fall in death rates, as a moving 7 day average, may be even more suggestive of a genuine downward trend." #Covid19 #India 9/11
So any feeling of security is "transient and ephemeral". India's busy festival season is around the corner. A few 'superspreader' events and increased mobility can again change the course of the virus in two weeks. #Covid_19 #India 10/11
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