While India finally reported more coronavirus recoveries than active cases in a single day, what the numbers miss is that the recoveries reported today are of cases discovered at least 10 days ago.

New Delhi, June 13:

In June 10, the number of Covid-19 recoveries crossed the number of active cases in India for the first time, something that India Today had reported last week was to be expected. Just under half of India’s total cases so far have already recovered.

Recoveries now outnumber active cases in 157 of 213 countries and territories for which data is available. Earlier this week, New Zealand became the first major country to report no new or active cases. Of the 10 countries with the highest case burden, the United States has the largest gap between active cases and recoveries around 8 lakh.


Recoveries now outstrip active cases in 13 states and Union territories in India, including in high-burden Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Gujarat has more than 5,000 active cases and over 14,000 recoveries. Tamil Nadu reported more than 19,000 recoveries and a little over 17,000 active cases.


However, Maharashtra and Delhi among high-burden states are yet to reach this milestone; Delhi still has 1.6 active cases for every recovery. Maharashtra has more than 44,000 recoveries, but over 46,000 active cases, while Delhi with more than 12,000 recoveries still has over 19,000 active cases.

Recoveries outstrip active cases in 382 out of 717 districts in India for which data is available. Ahmedabad leads among districts with the largest gaps between recovered and active cases. It has 7,000 more recoveries than active cases. Following Ahmedabad are Pune, Jaipur, Indore and Jodhpur.


However, what the numbers miss is that recoveries reported today are of cases discovered at least 10 days ago. Overall, the number of new cases reported each day still dwarfs recoveries reported each day. Since June 3, India reported more than 9,000 new cases every day, while recoveries have averaged around 5,000 in the same period.


While recovery rates are broadly rising across the board, the path is by no means straight. States report sudden increases and falls, and some report multiple peaks, as in the case of Kerala. In the last week, two of the worst-hit states, Delhi and Tamil Nadu, reported a fall in their recovery rates.


On its own, India’s recoveries surpassing active cases is not a good enough positive indicator, as long as new cases continue to grow. Recoveries surpassed active cases in China by the end of February, but what drove it was a decline in the number of new cases being reported every day. If the trend in India translates into fewer new cases being discovered each day, then that will be the real silver lining.