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Making sense of Goa Covid figures – 01 Sep update

Summary – Goa is at 180+ reported Covid deaths presently. From now till October, ~450 more will die and then the overall growth in cases and deaths will likely slow down (but if Goa’s growth behaves like Pune, then God save us).


Some of you may be aware about my weekly India level projections. Now because I live in Goa, I think I will try to look at Goa figures too, if not weekly, then at least once a month (or may be twice if needed). This is the first such analysis.

Total positive cases* tested, stood at 16k+ on Saturday (29 August)

*not to be confused with active cases which are obviously lower, because people who don’t die, recover.

~2,700 positive cases were detected just last week (Sun 23 Aug – Sat 29 Aug), which was 13% higher than the total positive cases detected the week before (~2,400). When we track this week-on-week growth in total weekly positive cases for the past few weeks, we see that there is no clear pattern as such.

8 in this chart is the 23-29 Aug week, 7 = the week before that, and so on and so forth

If I have to make a guesstimate, I would go with a range of 15% to 35% weekly growth in positive cases for the next few weeks (with 25% as my baseline).

Total deaths stood at ~180 till this Saturday (29 Aug) which is 111 per million population (Goa has a population of 1.6 million).

38 people were reported dead from Covid just last week which was 1.5% of half of cases from last week and half of cases from the week before (let me call this the “death %age”)

This death %age was less than 1% eight week ago. It has gradually gone up but seems to be stable at around 1.4-1.5%

So if I consider three cases growth scenarios (A – 15%, B – 25% and C – 35% week-on-week), and use the 1.4% death %age approximation, below is how the future cumulative death toll will look like.

Goa is at close to 200 deaths now – in another three weeks, the figure will touch 300.

Till when will the figure keep rising?

To answer this, let’s divide the death numbers above by Goa’s population (1.6 million) and relook at the same chart.

We are at a little over 100 per million dead in Goa right now (and yes I know death figures are under-reported across the country and all that but I will explain towards the end why it is not so important if what we want to deduce is, when will the growth in cases and deaths end and things begin to stabilize, i.e. when we will peak).

In another three weeks, we will be around 200 per million dead.

Now let’s look at some other cities / states (deaths per million). In the below graph, I have arranged the starting point in a way that all of them begin from a similar time when they had their ~10 deaths per million deaths.

You probably can’t even see Goa in the above graph properly, but don’t worry, I will sort it out for you in a sec. I want you to look at Delhi – notice it sort of flattened at less than 150 deaths per million? Look at Mumbai and Pune now – Mumbai is above 400 and going strong and Pune is doing so much worse – it has crossed 600 and is still so steep (New York peaked after 1200 per million died btw). Also, as a context deaths per million hasn’t even touched double digit in Kerala (I realized this only when I was trying to plot all the graphs together).

Anyway, so to observe Goa more clearly, let’s take out Mumbai and Pune (for now let’s treat them like exceptions / outliers).

Compared to Delhi and Bangalore, Goa’s growth from ~10 deaths per million to 100 deaths per million has been slower.

But moving on, Goa can either behave like Delhi and start to flatten or it could behave like Bangalore and cross 150.

It doesn’t look like it’s going to behave like Delhi (the orange line). As you can see above, Delhi’s growth gradually started slowing from around 75 per million death onward and then started slowing a lot more once it crossed 100.

Goa on the other hand is as steep at 100+ as Delhi was at 50+

So going ahead, if Goa’s growth acts like Mumbai, then flattening could happen only when ~400 per million are dead (i.e. ~640 total deaths in absolute terms). That means over three times more the number of dead already – which if you scroll up and look at the Goa deaths per million projection, will happen some time in October.

Let me put this in perspective.

We are at ~180 deaths now. In Sept and October, ~460 more will die and then the overall growth in cases / death is likely to slow down.

But if Goa’s growth behaves like Pune, then God save us!

And now let me address the under-reporting of deaths bit.

Based on various reports available, in general under-reporting could be as much as half of all deaths (in general for India / various states). So when the reported deaths for Goa are 110, actual deaths could be 220 – nobody can really tell the exact number. And while this information changes the absolute number of deaths – it is irrelevant when one is looking at the growth rate (assuming under-reporting factor is constant week on week).

Even for the peaking analysis – when we are looking at other cities / states, given that all of them are under-reporting, a relative comparison nullifies the impact of under-reporting on our analysis.

Net, net – the under-reporting factor only tells us that the actual deaths are higher. It doesn’t impact when we will peak.

And before I end, let me address one question that some people throw.

Don’t cases matter too, than just the deaths?

There are reports, such as this for India and this for the world, that do indicate that even in the recovered patients, the long term health impact is not clear.

Source

I read these articles and I think that one should be aware of this, but for now it should not be a pressing concern for the general public. Recovery >>> death.

Guess, that’s all I got to say. Feel free to share this with your Goa friends and if you have inputs / questions, let me know.

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