In absolute numbers, Mumbai has added 3.7 lakh cases between March 16 and April 15, much higher than any other city, while Delhi seems like it is the next worst hit. Absolute numbers, however, can give a misleading picture as cities with much bigger populations would tend to have more cases. Calculating the number of cases per million makes it possible to compare cities with vastly different population sizes.
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Thus, Mumbai and Delhi with populations of over 20 million each have had single-day highs over the last month of over 19,400 and 14,300, respectively. But again, when we look at these numbers in proportion to their population, Lucknow’s high of just under 4,500 on April 15 is actually more alarming (see graphic).
TOI looked at the number of Covid infections over the last one month in the country’s 30 most populous urban agglomerations – contiguous urban areas like Greater Mumbai or Greater Kolkata – according to the UN’s World Urbanisation Prospects data. For two of these, Hyderabad and Vijaywada, data wasn’t available. Almost all the cities have breached their previous highest daily cases during the course of this month and are continuing to witness a rise in daily cases. This is a serious worry for the health infrastructure in these cities, as there is no telling how far the cases would increase before they reach the peak. Mercifully, Mumbai, Pune, and Nashik are now seeing decreasing number of cases over the last few days indicating that these cities could be over their peak.
In the cities in Kerala that form part of this list, as well as in Coimbatore and Visakhapatnam, the all-time high for daily cases was not during this past month. However, daily cases are rising steadily in these cities and the worry is that they could see even higher number of cases in the current surge than the last peak.
The analysis here pertains to urban agglomerations, which means Mumbai includes Thane and Navi Mumbai and Chennai would include Thiruvallur, for instance. The only exception to this is Delhi, whose satellite cities are in other states and have not been included as part of the population or cases in Delhi.