COVID-19 transmitted by 'superspreaders', says study; September accounts for over 41% of India's 63.1 lakh cases

The past month also saw 33,390 deaths due to COVID-19, which is around 33.84 percent of the total 98,678 deaths due to coronavirus recorded

India's COVID-19 tally crossed 63 lakh on Thursday with 86,821 new cases reported in the last 24 hours, according to the Union Health Ministry. Additionally, the countrywide toll rose to 98,678 with 1,181 new deaths.

The number of recoveries, on the other hand, rose to  52,73,202, taking the recovery rate to 83.53 percent.

The total number of coronavirus cases (63,12,584) includes 9,40,705 active cases, which comprise 14.90 percent of the total caseload, the ministry's data stated.

The COVID-19 case fatality rate due to the coronavirus infection has dropped to 1.56 percent.

India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20 lakh mark on 7 August, 30 lakh on 23 August and 40 lakh on 5 September. It went past 50 lakh on 16 September and crossed 60 lakh on 28 September.

According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 7,56,19,781 samples have been tested up to 30 September, with 14,23,052 samples being tested on Wednesday.

For the tenth successive day, active cases of coronavirus infection in India were below 10 lakh while the country's steady trend of posting high levels of daily recoveries continued, the ministry also said.

Study shows COVID-19 transmitted mostly by 'superspreaders'

The transmission of COVID-19 in India has been driven mainly by superspreaders or a small percentage of infected people, according to the largest contact tracing study  in the country.

The study also shows that children are key to the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.

The researchers, including those from the Government of Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh, found that over 70 percent of COVID-19 infected patients in the country did not infect any of their contacts, while 8 percent of infected individuals accounted for 60 percent of observed new infections.

The study of over half-million people in India found that both cases and deaths due to the disease have been more heavily concentrated in the 40-69 age group.

The study noted that contacts within the same age group were associated with the greatest infection risk. A pattern, which the researchers said, was strongest among children between 0-14 years of age, and among adults older than 65 years.

The researchers also found a high prevalence of infection among children.

The study, published in the journal Science on Wednesday, assessed the disease transmission patterns in 5,75,071 individuals exposed to 84,965 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the two states based on data collected by tens of thousands of contact tracers.

According to the scientists, including Ramanan Laxminarayan from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy in New Delhi, the findings offer a peek into the pandemic's trajectory in a low- and middle-income country, where most COVID-19 cases have occurred.

Next sero-survey in Delhi will be conducted in a fortnight

The next serological survey to check for the prevalence of antibodies against the novel coronavirus among people will start in Delhi within a fortnight, Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said on Thursday.

Seroprevalence of antibodies to COVID-19 reduced to 25.1 percent in September from nearly 29 percent in August among people in the National Capital, the Delhi High Court was informed on Wednesday.

These are the findings of the third round of sero-survey carried out by the AAP government in the National Capital between 1 and 7 September.

The first sero-survey was conducted by the Delhi government in collaboration with the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The next two surveys were conducted by the Delhi government.

"In the first survey conducted, the data was collected from 11 districts but for the September survey, we divided Delhi into 280 parts and the geographical area covered was more. The next sero-survey will also be conducted on the same format and will start in the next 10-15 days," Jain told reporters.

September accounted for 41.53% of total cases in India

In the eight months since the first case of coronavirus infection was detected on 30 January, September alone recorded 26,21,418 infections, accounting for 41.53 percent of the over 63 lakh COVID-19 cases reported in the country so far, PTI reported.

The past month also saw 33,390 deaths due to the disease, which is around 33.84 percent of the total 98,678 deaths recorded so far.

September witnessed 24,33,319 people recuperating, contributing to around 46.15 percent of the total 52,73,201 recoveries registered so far in the country.

India is at number one position in terms of the number of recovered coronavirus cases followed by Brazil and the US, according to the Johns Hopkins University, which has been compiling COVID-19 data from all over the world.

India is the second worst hit nation in terms of COVID-19 cases after the US, while it is in the third spot in terms of fatalities globally after the US and Brazil, according to the JHU data.

The first positive case of the coronavirus infection was reported in Kerala on 30 January.

Meanwhile, Thursday was a day of grim COVID-19 milestones for Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.

Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are among the the states with high virus caseload states in the country, along with Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Kerala, which received accolades from many for initially curbing the spread of the contagion, has seen a rapid spike in the number of infections in September, causing concern.

Incidentally, the virus surge went past six lakh in Karnataka on Wednesday, while Telangana is inching closer to two lakh cases with the tally rising to 1,93,600.

However, both Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have also witnessed dip in the daily additions and active cases.

State-wise cases and deaths

Andhra Pradesh reported 6,751 new cases, 7,297 recoveries and 41 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking total cases to 7,00,235, including 6,36,508 recoveries, 57,858 active cases and 5,869 deaths.

Rajasthan reported 2,193 new cases, 1,953 discharged cases and 14 deaths. The total number cases rise to 1,37,485 till date, including 20,807 active cases, 1,14,135 discharged cases and 1,500 deaths.

Madhya Pradesh reported 20 deaths and 2,041 new cases today. The total number of cases in the state is now 1,30,088 including 20,473 active cases, 1,07,279 recoveries and 2,336 deaths.

In Punjab, 1,317 new cases and 45 deaths have been reported, taking the total number of cases to 1,15,151 including 15,763 active cases and 3,451 deaths as per the state government.

Chandigarh reported 119 new cases and two deaths today, taking the total number of cases to 12057 including 1884 active cases and 164 deaths, according to the Health Department, Chandigarh.

With inputs from agencies

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