It took India 74 days to cross 10,000 Covid-19 cases — much slower than US, UK

The number of deaths in India as it crossed 10,000 Covid-19 cases stood at 358, higher than US and China but lower than Sweden, Spain and Italy.

A nurse uses a thermal screening device on a patient in Patna (representational image) | Photo: ANI
A nurse uses a thermal screening device on a patient (representational image) | Photo: ANI

Bengaluru: India has officially crossed the mark of 10,000 Covid-19 cases, becoming the 22nd country to do so.

India’s numbers are close to South Korea, Ireland and Sweden, as the US leads the world with over 580,000 cases, and Spain is second with 170,000.

ThePrint takes a look at how each of these countries reached the 10,000 mark, and how India compares to them. The data is accurate as of 6 pm on 14 April, when the worldwide number of cases was 1.92 million.

Time taken to reach 10,000 cases

The first known Covid-19 case in China could potentially be traced back to November 2019, and 13 of the first 41 reported cases had no link to the wet market in Wuhan that is supposed to be the epicentre of the outbreak.

China informed the World Health Organization about the novel coronavirus on 31 December, and the WHO confirmed and announced its presence on 12 January. That was effectively the day the world became aware of a new contagious, rapidly spreading respiratory virus.

India recorded its first confirmed case on 30 January, and crossed the 10,000 cases mark on 13 April, 74 days later. For reference, the ‘Janata Curfew’ announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was observed on 22 March, and the country went into a complete lockdown from midnight on 24-25 March.

India’s progression is comparable to countries that have managed the disease well, such as South Korea, which also took 74 days to hit 10,000 cases. China, too, roughly reached the number in around the same time period (73 days), if reports about the very first case being in November are to be believed. Sweden almost took the same amount of time too — 72 days.

All these countries have seen a relative flattening of the curve. However, other countries reached the 10,000-case mark much faster, especially where containment measures kicked in late.

The US reached 10,000 cases in 53 days, while the UK reached the same number in 55 days. The case numbers are extremely high in these countries, with US leading the world’s total with 5,87,173 cases, and UK registering 88,621. Spain, the country with the second highest number of cases, reached 10,000 in 46 days, while Italy did so in just 40 days.

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Deaths out of 10,000 cases

When India crossed the 10,000-case mark, the number of deaths due to Covid-19 stood at 358. In contrast, South Korea had 174 deaths at the time it crossed the mark.

The UK, with its initial plan of letting the disease run free to attain herd immunity, saw 578 deaths and Spain had 553 deaths at the same mark. Italy, expectedly, had a higher death count at 631 due to its large ageing population.

The corresponding figure for the US was 309 deaths, while China reported 259.

The most impressive figure among all countries was that of Germany, which reported only 28 deaths when it crossed 10,000 cases.

However, Sweden’s death figure for the first 10,000 cases was 887. The country, considered one of the best prepared for a pandemic, still hasn’t enforced a complete lockdown, prompting experts to recommend urgent action.

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Measures adopted

India imposed the ‘Janata Curfew’ on 22 March, and then went into a full lockdown two days later — 54 days after the first detected case. The UK also took 52 days to enter full lockdown mode, but saw a higher number of deaths.

The corresponding number for Spain and Italy was 44 and 37 days respectively, while Ireland shut things down in just 15 days from its first detected case. In Ireland, citizens voluntarily called for public space closures and started staying indoors much before the shutdown began.

Several countries, however, have still not imposed a full lockdown, including the Netherlands, Sweden, and even the US, where numbers are spiralling out of control. Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said the US could have saved more lives had it implemented even partial social distancing measures earlier. President Donald Trump has been criticised, both nationally and internationally, for his slow response and for not paying heed to expert advice.

South Korea is also under a partial lockdown, which began a month after the first detected case. However, the country had one of the most efficient responses to the Covid-19 crisis, along with Taiwan, Vietnam, and Singapore. South Korea performed aggressive mass testing, including setting up drive-through testing, rigorous contact tracing, quick travel restrictions, efficient monitoring and quarantining, and the rapid use of technology to monitor movement.

The country even held its elections through the crisis, following a strict health protocol of distancing and testing.

South Korea is one of the few countries to have truly flattened the curve, sailing through the pandemic with relative ease, thanks to hard lessons learned from the 2015 MERS outbreak.

China followed a similar and more stringent policy to slow down the spread of the virus. It announced a complete lockdown 65 days after the November case, and was successful in stopping new infections for some time through aggressive implementation of technology, which is helping in tracking personal movement, data, and monitoring (even using drones).

However, after restrictions were lifted, China is once again reporting fresh cases.

Other countries that have crossed the 10,000-case mark include France, Iran, Turkey, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, Brazil, Russia, Portugal, Austria, and Israel.

(With inputs from Mohana Basu)

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