Is the recovery rate correct? PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 06 July 2020 00:00
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Ishaan Gera


In India, as in most parts of the world, it seems to take anywhere between 14 and 21 days to recover from a Covid-19 infection. In states like Delhi, however, it appears to be taking just eight days, going by the data the government puts out every day. So, are Covid-19 infections in Delhi different from those in Maharashtra where it takes 19 days to recover?

A similar question can be asked about Rajasthan and Bihar where the recovery period is a mere 9 days, or Odisha where it is even lower at 8 days. As FE analysis makes clear, it is more likely these states are getting the data wrong and, as a result, showing higher recovery rates. 

A few examples makes this clear. In the case of Delhi, the state had 49,979 cases of Covid-19 on June 19, of which 26,669 were active cases; the rest had either recovered or died. For the sake of this argument, let us assume there were no fresh infections after June 19. So, over time, all the recoveries that took place would be from these 26,669 people. 

Yet, over the next 10 days, going by the daily recovery numbers reported by the Delhi government, a total of 31,266 persons had recovered. Obviously, this means that some people from the fresh infections that occurred after June 19 had been declared to have recovered. What makes the exercise even more colourable is that the central government does not mandate testing of persons after their treatment. That is, if the doctor says you have recovered based on the symptoms you show, you are said to have recovered. But if the person remains infected – and there is no testing done to see if this is true – he or she is free to go out and infect others as well. 

Rajasthan, Odisha and Bihar have been no better. In Rajasthan, on June 19 there were 2,792 active cases, but over the next ten days 2,869 people recovered. In Odisha, as against 1,357 cases on June 19, 1,599 had recovered. Bihar also showed a similar trend. It had 2,062 recoveries as against 1,925 active cases recorded on June 19.

In contrast, Maharashtra had a recovery rate of 19 days. While the state had 53,915 active infections on June 19, less than half 25,737 recovered within the next ten days, which seems what should actually be the case.

As a result of this, states with a higher recovery rate – barring a few exceptions – are those that are showing patients recovering within 10 days. Rajasthan, with a recovery rate of 78% has patients recovering in nine days. For Odisha (71.7%), the recovery seems to occur in eight days, whereas Maharashtra, which had lowest recovery rate amongst Indian states has the highest recovery time of 19 days. India had a recovery time of 14 days.


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