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More testing for COVID-19 suspects doesn’t imply higher cases, says study

No pattern in tests and positive cases, shows analysis of data; Odisha has fewer cases with higher testing, Jammu has more  cases with less tests

Published: 25th April 2020 03:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th April 2020 11:10 AM   |  A+A-

A volunteer wearing protective suit delivers essential items to a resident after the area was sealed to restrict public movement in wake of the coronavirus pandemic during the nationwide lockdown at Bhowanipore area in Kolkata Friday April 24 2020. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: High number of testing does not necessarily mean it will translate into a high number of COVID-19 cases.

An analysis of the data so far has revealed that there is no pattern to the numbers.

While Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Telangana have conducted a high number of tests and top the list of states with positive cases, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan also have high tests to show but have low number of cases.

Delhi has the maximum percentage of positive cases (7.7%) followed by Maharashtra (7.2%) and Gujarat (6.19%) while the India average is 4.41%. On the other hand, states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan have registered less than 3% confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Incidentally, Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra have a large number of hotspots. For instance, 12 districts in Maharashtra are hotspots while Delhi has 92 hotspots across seven districts.

In the last couple of weeks, there has been a lot of debates on the number of tests with some experts as well as many Opposition leaders claiming that India should conduct more tests to ascertain the actual spread of COVID-19 infections in the country.

However, a closer look at the COVID-19 data disclosed that higher tests have not always yielded a higher number of positive cases. States like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Odisha have conducted a high number of tests, but have reported relatively less number of cases.

Odisha has recorded positive cases at 90 whereas it has been aggressively conducting tests and has tested nearly 21,000 people so far. The state has a 0.42% infection rate as compared with a number of tests.

Similarly, States like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala have also conducted a higher number of tests, however, their infection rate is less than 3%.

Karnataka has been proactive in conducting tests as it has tested nearly 30,000 samples out of which only 463 persons were found positive with a rate of 1.57%. Andhra Pradesh has conducted nearly 50,000 tests and nearly 1,000 positive cases have been found in the state at the rate of 1.9%.

On the other hand, Delhi, which has reported a continuous rise in positive cases, had tested nearly 35,000 samples till Friday with the number of infected persons crossing the mark of 2,300. In contrast, there are many states which have gone slow on testing samples.

Like, Jammu and Kashmir has over 434 cases whereas it had conducted less than 11,000 tests till Friday. In such a condition, a higher number of tests might result into a higher number of positive.

A close look at the data also showed many states are low in conducting a number of tests despite a high number of cases.

TMC-ruled West Bengal has also done a fewer number of testing when compared with peer states. There are nearly 514 positive COVID-19 cases in the state whereas only about 8000 samples have been tested so far.

More testing could lead to more positive cases in this state as a number of testing looks inadequate when compared with other states.

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