Test Positivity Rates across India's States and Union Territories

Test Positivity is a metric that is helpful in better estimating the true spread of an epidemic when we know that the number of reported cases for a disease is a undercount of the actual number of cases within a given population.

In addition, Test Positivity is also a useful metric to assess the effectivness of the testing approach deployed to measure the spread of a certain epidemic. When viewed as a metric to assess the testing approach itself:
  • Lower rates suggests more a widespread, random, and proactive testing approach.
  • Higher rates suggests a more targetted, reactive testing approach.
Data Sources
Test Positivity: Greater than 5.0% ...
Test Positivity: Between 5.0% and 2.0% ...
Test Positivity: Below 2.0% ...

Pandemic Notes

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Overall, India has managed to maintain a low test positivity rate. According to news reports on May 4th, 2020, India had a test positivity rate of 3.8%. However, in more recent reporting, that number has risen to 5% based on the data accumulated "between May 7 and May 21". The 5% figure lines up with independent data collection by the "Our World in Data" project that has India's test positivity rate for COVID19 at 4.6% on May 25, 2020.

The WHO has recommended that governments should consider reopening their countries when they have noticed a test positivity rate of 5% or lower for at least 14 days [source]. Regardless, India's low test positivity rates are also in line with the test positivity rates reported in countries that have successfully managed to "flatten the curve". For instance, the test positivity rate for South Korea is at 1.4% as of May 25, 2020, and is on a steady decline.

Interestingly, the test positivity rate for India has been on a rise throughout the month of May 2020. That number has jumped from 3.9% on May 1, to 4.6% on May 25. As such making this an important, and under-reported metric to keep an eye on, as the COVID19 pandemic continues to keep India in a state of lockdown.

About this dashboard

This dashboard shows a listing of the most recently reported Test Positivity Rates for all states and union territories in India, except the Lakshwadeep Islands. I am visualizing these test positivity rates for these regions by coloring them in different shades of blue. A lighter shade of blue suggests a relatively lower test positivity rate for a given region. A darker shade of blue suggests a higher test positivity rate. For instance, Maharashtra and Delhi have test positivity rates of 12.28% (updated on 21/05/2020) and 7.55% (updated on 21/05/2020), and as such are colored in the deepest shades of blue. By contrast, Andhra Pradesh and Meghalaya are reporting test positivity rates of well below 1%, i.e. less than one percent of the people tested in those states have COVID19.

I am collecting the state-wise test positivity rate data from the COVID19India's Data API.

Note: These are still early days for this dashboard, and I will be updating the metrics I present, on top of test positivity rates, and seek to answer other questions about India's approach to testing for COVID19. Constructive feedback, and suggestions are welcome.
- Vijay, May 26, 2020.