NEW DELHI: With the recent uptick in Covid cases, the focus is again on whether states are testing enough to detect cases well in time. Data shows that Kerala, which is in the news for reporting the highest number of cases, is also the leader in testing rates among larger states with a seven-day average of 4,587 tests per million. At the other end of the spectrum, Rajasthan is at just 378 tests per million and West Bengal, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat all below 1,000 per million.
The average was less than 3,000 tests per million for most relatively large states. Assam and Delhi were among the exceptions at 3,563 and 3,336, respectively. Among smaller states (with a population less than a crore), Mizoram reported the highest seven-day average testing rate on August 1 at 4,916 per million, slightly higher than Kerala.
The data also shows that current testing rates in most states are well below the highest levels they have achieved in the past, though in some like Kerala they are at their highest or close to it. Although testing has declined from the peak rate achieved typically during the first week of June, most states are conducting more tests now than in the pre-second wave period early this year.
In 14 large states, the current average was less than 2,000 tests per million, meaning their rate was less than half of what Kerala and Jammu & Kashmir are doing. Other than the five states with below 1,000 tests per million, the rate is just 1,196 for Bihar and 1,052 for Uttar Pradesh.
Among smaller states, the testing rate averaged between 2,000 to 3,000 for Goa, Sikkim and Tripura while for Manipur and Meghalaya it was between 1,500 and 2,000 tests per million. Nagaland was the only state on the list where this average was less than a thousand tests per million. Smaller UTs are excluded from this comparison as tiny populations mean even a minor increase in testing can inflate the rate.
Past data also reveals that many states did not cross the 2,000 tests per million mark even during the peak of the second wave. For instance, the highest daily testing rate achieved by Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Rajasthan in 2021 was always less than 2,000 tests per million.