The very first case of the Wuhan Coronavirus that originated in China, according to reports, was detected on the 17th of November. While China hid the outbreak for weeks and the WHO along with China downplayed the severity of the virus, soon, the entire world was reeling under the Coronavirus pandemic. In India, the outbreak reached later than several other countries. The first case in India was reported on the 30th of January. The first case came from Kerala of a student who was studying at the Wuhan University. Since then, the pandemic has grown manyfold. As of today, in India, there have been 724 positive cases of the Wuhan Coronavirus, including 66 cured and 17 dead.
Now, the data has revealed that out of the several cases in India, 300+ cases are of those who had a travel history abroad and out of those 300 cases, 142 positive cases in India were of those who had returned from the Middle East. Dr Anupam Singh analysed raw data from a voluntary effort called Covid19IndiaOrg that was collecting data in an attempt to build a verified tracker of the Wuhan Coronavirus cases in India.
Delhi based Dr Anupam Singh, who is a doctor of internal medicine and dabbles in public health data science, after analysing the raw data that has been made public by Covid19IndiaOrg analysed that so far, there have been 300 such cases where the patients had a direct travel history to another affected country and they were tested positive once they returned to India.
Where have these guys travelled from?— Anupam Singh (@anupampom) March 27, 2020
almost 100+ patient from dubai. we should have qurantined more aggressively in early march pic.twitter.com/R3cM5ioP23
The data that was analysed by Dr Anupam Singh provides a unique window in the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus in India. Interestingly, out of the 300 patients that had a travel history, almost 50%, 142 cases, had travel history to the Middle East.
The countries that they had travelled from where Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Mecca and Iran.
Out of the countries in the Middle East, people who returned from Dubai topped the chart in testing positive in India. 105 patients out of the 300 patients who had a travel history had travelled back to India from Dubai.
There were many who suggested that the number of positive cases who had a travel history to Dubai may be higher because Dubai acts as a transit point for several people travelling back to India from other countries. However, that does not seem to be the case. Generally, a transit airport is entered in travel history as ‘transit airport’ and it seems unlikely that a transit airport would have been erroneously entered as the airport of origin.
The analysis done by Dr Singh shows that the mortality rate in India is about 2% with senior citizens at higher risk. This finding is in tune with what global experts have found.
In the known patients and whose gender details are available, Dr Singh also found the the ratio of positive patients in India is 60:40, Male to female.
What is male/female distribution of cases?— Anupam Singh (@anupampom) March 27, 2020
According to literature Male:Female ratio is 60:40.
In known patients (with gender details)
Males higher in India as well around 65* pic.twitter.com/emKAv52TgF
Dr Singh also found some super-spreaders some of whom travelled back to India and spread the virus to 16 people.
The raw data that Dr Singh used to analyse and reach these conclusions had been made freely available by Covid19IndiaOrg, the voluntary organisation that is trying to build a database tracking Coronavirus cases in India. The full raw data based on which Dr Singh conducted his analyses can be accessed here.
From the findings of Dr Anupam Singh, there are certain facts that become acutely clear. Firstly, the fact that the lockdown that India has announced is extremely essential to arrest the spread of the virus even in the face of hardships. One can see from Dr Singh’s research how in India, one person who does local transmission ends up spreading the infection to anywhere between 2 to 2.7 people on average.
What is also apparent is that the decision of the government of India to stop all International passenger flights in and out of India till the 14th of April seems essential given the number of patients in India who had a travel history especially to the Middle East.