Nearly 11.1 lakh Covid-19 cases were recorded in March, more than the count in the previous two months put together. The month also saw the sharpest rise in daily cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with the seven-day average increasing more than four-fold, from 15,241 at the beginning of March to 61,859 on the last day.
The seven-day average of daily cases rose by 46,618 during March, higher than during any other month. Only September, with a growth of 37,036 cases, comes close. In percentage terms, May had seen a similar 4-fold increase in cases but the base was far lower. In May, average daily cases had risen from 1,679 to 6,980.
Deaths, too, rose during March, but in a silver lining to the second Covid wave till now, fatalities have not surged as dramatically as the cases. The month saw 5,755 deaths, more than double the toll in February (2,767) but just a shade higher than the number reported in January (5,453). This could be because of a lag of around 14 days that usually accompanies any spike in infections. Indeed, by the end of the month, daily fatalities were close to the numbers witnessed in early December.
Ominously, cases were still on the rise in most states in the country outside of the northeast, indicating that the surge could be far from over.
On Wednesday, when the daily count topped the 70,000 mark to a 172-day high of 71,586 (as per TOI’s data), at least 12 states registered their highest daily counts since January or earlier.
Maharashtra posted 39,544 fresh cases, it’s second-highest number till date after Sunday’s record tally of 40,414. Chhattisgarh recorded its highest ever count of 4,563 cases, becoming the fourth state in March to hit its all-time high peak.
Gujarat, too, logged its highest count of 2,360 new infections in the last 24 hours. This was the seventh time in the last 10 days that the state had hit a new peak in daily cases.
Karnataka posted 4,225 cases, the highest since October 25 while Madhya Pradesh reported 2,332, the highest since September 23. Tamil Nadu (2,579), Andhra Pradesh (1,184), Bengal (982), Jharkhand (693), Telangana (684), J&K (373), Odisha (297) and Goa (200) also recorded their highest count of cases since January or earlier.
Even Kerala, where the infection had been receding till around a few days ago, reported 2,653 fresh cases, the highest in 25 days.
Maharashtra recorded as many as 227 deaths in the past 24 hours, its highest daily toll since November 5. Fatalities also continue to surge in Punjab (56 deaths), Chhattisgarh (39), Karnataka (26) and Tamil Nadu (19).