COVID-19 spread rising: 31% citizens now say they have atleast 1 COVID-19 positive case in their social network
- • 350% increase in percentage of citizens who have atleast 1 COVID-19 positive case in their social network from May when only 7% had a positive case in their social network
- • Only 51% believe India is on the right track as far as handling of containment of COVID-19 is concerned
July 31, 2020, New Delhi: India stands just behind USA and Brazil on the infamous chart of maximum number of COVID-19 infected people. But Indian pandemic situation can easily be called one of the fastest growing as the country is now adding almost 50,000 cases per day standing just behind USA in the highest number of cases reported by any country in 24 hours. With more than 1.6 million cases now and a strong belief amongst the experts that the figures are understated due to inadequate testing, the spread is now rapidly rising in tier 2, 3, 4 towns and rural areas. With the antigen tests now available, testing has been ramped up in some states however it is still miniscule in proportion to India’s 1.38 billion population. Several citizens have on LocalCircles reported a senior family member testing positive with no outside contact and while staying home, indicating the prevalence of possible community transmission.
LocalCircles conducted a survey to get citizen pulse on the issue of extent of spread of COVID-19 in India, how do people see it spreading further and received over 35,000 responses from 269 districts of the country.
The first question asked citizens if they had family members including extended family, friends, colleagues, neighbour etc. who have tested positive for COVID-19. In response, 31% answered in a ‘yes’ while 65% answered in a ‘no’.
Rising spread of COVID-19: 31% citizens now say they have atleast 1 COVID-19 positive case in their social network (family, friends, colleagues, neighbours etc.)
This means that 31% citizens now say that they have atleast 1 COVID-19 positive case in their social network i.e. family, extended family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, etc. This number has seen a 350% increase in the last 2 months and stood at a meagre 7% in May 2020.
In 2 months, 350% Increase in number of citizens who have atleast 1 COVID positive person in their social network
India has crossed 1.6 million cases for COVID-19 and within 60 days the daily case load has moved from 4,000/day to almost 50,000/day now. When asked if they believe India is on the right track as far as handling of containment of COVID-19 is concerned, only 51% answered in an affirmative while 39% answered in a negative.
Only 51% citizens believe that India is on the right track in containing spread of COVID-19
Some of the citizens among the 39% who believe that India isn’t on the right track as far as containment of COVID-19 goes highlighted their reasoning for the belief. A sizable set of people believe that India should have implemented stringent lockdown in the high virus load districts for much longer periods. According to many of them, opening or markets and businesses while footfalls are 20-30% of pre COVID-19 isn’t going to help the small business owner and it will worsen the spread. Some small businesses feel that they will not be able to sustain in this mode where operating costs are higher than profits for more than 6 month and may have to fold up. According to them, it would have been much better, had the Central or State Government implemented a strict lockdown in these high load districts and only opened up businesses and markets when the case load declined considerably. Most of the large cities of India come in the high virus load category. In the LocalCircles survey conducted in early July, 69% citizens indicated that a complete one-month lockdown must be implemented in such high load districts and that weekend lockdowns weren’t effective.
India currently has over 5 lakh active Coronavirus cases and over 10 lakh patients have already recovered from the infection. Globally, over 17 million people have been infected with COVID-19 while the death toll in India has crossed 34,000.
In the third question, citizens were asked how India can significantly reduce its cases. 10% said it could be done through strict localised lockdowns while 19% said it could be done through extensive tracking and testing. 58% said both of these will have to be done together while 11% feel the Government cannot do anything to significantly reduce the number of cases.
Majority believe that extensive tracing and testing along with strict localised lockdowns only way for India to reduce cases
After the metros, the infection has now begun spreading to smaller towns and rural areas as Governments eased restrictions in June and July. The Ministry of Health recently said that India was doing "relatively well" in managing the COVID-19 situation, pointing to 13 deaths per 10 lakh people, compared with about 400 in the United States and 320 in Brazil.
In the final poll, citizens were asked with the current containment, where do they expect India to be by December 31, 2020. 17% in response said they believe there will be 2-4 million cases, 19% said there could be 4-8 million cases, 27% said there could be 8-12 million cases, while 16% said there could be over 12 million cases in India by 31st December 2020.
43% citizens believe India will cross atleast 8 million COVID-19 cases by the end of this calendar year Dec 2020
This shows that 43% citizens believe that India will cross atleast 8 million COVID-19 cases by the end of this year. Though, India has been steadily increasing its COVID testing rates it still has a testing rate of 11.8 tests per thousand people, compared to 152.98 of the USA.
The silver lining however is that cases in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai are declining over the last 30 days. The risk however, is that as COVID-19 spreads in smaller towns leading to more COVID-19 patients coming to metros for treatment given the inadequate health infrastructure in most towns and villages to handle such a pandemic, the metros could possibly experience a second wave.
35,000+ responses were received across 269 districts of India. 67% respondents were men while 33% respondents were women. 41% respondents were from tier 1, 23% from tier 2 and 36% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts. They survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants are validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.