Delhi reported 3,788 cases on June 24, overtaking Mumbai as the city with the maximum number of Covid-19 cases in India. The national capital now has an aggregate of 70,390 cases, whereas, in Mumbai, which saw 1,118 new cases on Wednesday, the tally rose to 69,528.
Delhi witnessed its worst surge on June 23 with 3,947 cases – amongst the highest daily count for any city in the world for that day. To put things in perspective, the previous highest single-day spike for any state in India was 3,874 in Maharashtra – a state with at least fives times the population of Delhi - on June 20. Mumbai’s highest daily spike was reported on May 22 when it registered 1,751 cases.
Delhi has recorded an average of 3,327 daily cases over the last week. Mumbai, on the other hand, hasn’t yet touched 1,600 cases since June 1 and reported just 824 cases on Tuesday, its lowest single-day rise in 41 days. The city had reported a continuous fall in daily new cases for a week till June 23 (before a rise on Wednesday), with early trends suggesting that there could be a flattening of the curve (total cases) in Mumbai.
Mumbai had more than double the number of cases on May 1. There was a gradual fall in the ratio between the two cities till the end of Lockdown 4 post which there was a massive surge in cases in Delhi and a drop in the growth rate of cases in Mumbai.
The capital has seen the number of cases rise by more than three-and-a-half times since Unlock 1.0 – this is also more than double the growth seen in Mumbai during this period, where the cases have gone up by just 1.74 times since June 1.
Again, interestingly, Delhi’s share of the total number of cases in the country barely increased from 10.57% on May 1 to 10.93% on June 1. However, there has been a significant rise thereafter and the capital now contributes 15.43% of the national share as of June 24. In contrast, Mumbai's percentage has gone down from 22.07% to 20.82% and then to 15.24%.
These figures tell us that the number of cases climbed in Delhi when the lockdown restrictions were relaxed post Unlock 1.0.
But this is only half the story!
One of the major reasons for the recent contrast in the daily number of cases in the two cities has been their testing numbers.
Testing has doubled in Delhi in the last one week. 16,952 samples were tested on Tuesday out of which 3,947 were positive – a Positivity Rate of 23.28% - this basically suggests that almost one in every four people being tested in Delhi is Covid-19 positive. Despite the Weekly Positivity Rate falling from 31% on June 15 to 24% on June 22, the number is still alarmingly high.
Mumbai, on the other hand, has been criticised for its low testing numbers. The city has been conducting around 4,500 daily tests for a long time now. This would imply a Weekly Positivity Rate similar to Delhi's of around 26% for the week ending June 23. Thus, the falling number of cases in the city seems to be a direct consequence of low testing.
Overall, Delhi’s Positivity Rate of 17.53% is still significantly lower than Mumbai (23.58%), again an indication of the low testing standards in the financial capital of the country. As testing increases in Mumbai, we might again see a surge in cases.
Mumbai has also reported a higher number of Covid-19 deaths than Delhi – 3,964 as compared to 2,365. This basically means that Mumbai’s Mortality Rate of 5.7% is substantially higher than Delhi’s – 3.36%.
The number of deceased in both cities has risen sharply over the last month, but the pattern has been different.
Delhi did a great job of containing the number of fatalities through most part of May. But from a Mortality Rate of just 1.59% on May 20, the number jumped to 2.56% on June 3. The rate has further risen to 3.36% as on June 25.
Mumbai saw its Mortality Rate actually fall from a relatively high 3.53% on May 20 to 3.26% on June 3. However, since then, the city has witnessed a huge increase in the number of fatalities and now has a high Mortality Rate of 5.7%.
Since Unlock 1.0, the number of deaths in Mumbai has tripled while it has increased five-fold in Delhi.
In terms of Tests per Death, the ratio in Delhi has dramatically fallen from 854 on May 20 to 402 on June 2 to 170 on June 25 – an indication of the rapid increase in the rate of growth of the fatalities. But even on this parameter, Delhi is doing twice as better as Mumbai. The Tests per Death ratio for Mumbai is as low as 74. This suggests that not only has Mumbai seen more Covid-19 deaths but also tested poorly.
Even as Delhi witnessed a huge spike in the number of infections, it has reported more recoveries than new cases during the past week. This has meant that the number of active cases has gone down and the Active Cases Percentage stands at 38% which is lower than the corresponding percentage for Mumbai (41%). Even in absolute terms, Mumbai still has more active cases (28,548) than Delhi (26,588).
The daily death toll number in Delhi has also been stable and within a small range of 58-77 from June 17 to June 24. In contrast, Mumbai has seen huge fluctuations ranging from a record high of 136 on June 20 – the highest single-day surge since the first death was registered on March 17 – to 20 fatalities on June 22.
This is a race no city wants to win but even as Delhi’s total cases surpassed Mumbai's, a deeper analysis suggests that the latter is still the Covid Capital of India.