Keith Rankin Chart Analysis – Covid-19 India update (compare with three weeks ago)

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Covid-19: Covid19 India update – Analysis by Keith Rankin.

No sign of further spread to India’s rural heartlands; Tamil Nadu worse. Chart by Keith Rankin.

India’s reported cases of Covid19, though still high, are well down on early May (see my India charts from three weeks ago). Maharashtra (Mumbai) and Delhi have markedly fewer cases than at their peaks.

West Bengal (with Kolkata) is showing more cases, though not dramatically so given all the dire commentary earlier in the month. Tamil Nadu (with Chennai) is the big climber, along with Puducherry, which is an independent city surrounded by Tamil Nadu. Because Covid19 is essentially an urban disease (and a resort disease), the cases in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu will be concentrated in the cities of Kolkata and Chennai. (Most likely Darjeeling – in West Bengal – is also getting much worse; it is very close to both Sikkim and to Nepal.)

Also on the increase are the smaller states in the far northeast (ie beyond Bangladesh). These are shown in a lighter blue (cases) and gold (deaths). Three weeks ago they were the least affected parts of India.

The Himalaya states still have strong case numbers: Ladakh, Sikkim, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Jammu/Kashmir. These are places that the rich people of New Delhi like to escape to in the very hot months from May to August.

India’s poor central rural heartland: Bihar, Jharkhand, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh – along with similar Gujarat – are if anything registering even fewer cases than they were in the beginning of the month. Unlike many other diseases, Covid19 is not a disease of the rural poor.

Nepal and Sri Lanka getting worse; Indian Ocean resorts much worse. Chart by Keith Rankin.

This chart replaces the far northeastern states with India’s geographical and cultural neighbours. The resort islands are much worse now; indeed, they have been worst covid places in the world for most of the month. Nepal now has four times as many recorded Covid19 deaths as it did three weeks ago, and its suffering is clearly much worse than is India.

Sri Lanka is experiencing easily its worst outbreak of Covid19. (Afghanistan, by the way, has also been hit hard over the last week or so, though it’s not on the chart.)

Pakistan and Bangladesh seem relatively immune from what is happening. While they almost certainly suffer from the worldwide problem of undercounting, there is no obvious reason why they should have a markedly different experience of undercounting; further both had significantly higher case numbers in April than in May. Ramadan may have helped these two countries to adopt physical isolation practices, and especially to not congregate in the cafes and similar where Covid19 has probably spread the most in most countries.

The pandemic is far from over, and the west’s recent obsession with India’s experience – or, more specifically, New Delhi’s experience – has distracted us from the bigger picture of what is still happening in the culturally western countries of the world. Despite its initial origins in China, Covid19 is quintessentially a western disease.

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