India’s COVID-19 Burdens, 2020

/India’s COVID-19 Burdens, 2020

India’s COVID-19 Burdens, 2020

2021-04-14T19:06:38-04:00April 14th, 2021|
Journal Name Frontiers in Public Health
Publication Year 2021
Volume 14 April, 2021
Authors Ashish Joshi, Apeksha Mewani, Srishti Arora, Ashoo Grover


The purpose of this article is two pronged; first, to identify and report public health implications of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and second, to report challenges uniquely faced by the citizens of India from a population health perspective. We have done both while closely examining epidemiological data that is accessible via SMAART’s RAPID Tracker. This policy informatics platform is a live database aimed to track the geospatial spread of the COVID-19 outbreak and policy actions globally and is administered collaboratively by CUNY’s Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy and a global, non-profit public health incubator. Infectivity, incidence, and recovery rates were computed and graphical representations of epidemiological datasets were studied. We have discussed a plausible conceptual framework based on the principles of population health informatics for countries with similar characteristics to build a stronger public and community health foundation in order to safeguard populations during a health emergency in the future.


We are in the middle of the first global pandemic of the 21st century and as of December 17, 2020, 72,556,942 COVID-19 cases and 1,637,155 deaths due to COVID-19 were reported worldwide (1, 2). The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 (3). By January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency due to the virus’ rapid spread around the world (3). Figure 1 indicates a global spatiotemporal trend of COVID-19 since January 21, 2020 indicating the four countries with the highest caseload—the United States of America, India, Brazil, and the Russian Federation. The dotted lines are observed datasets, and exponential growth trends can be observed for all components of Figure 1, keeping in mind that outbreak statistics behave differently for national and worldwide levels. Looking closely at country-wise incidence, it is indicated that India’s total pandemic caseload as of December 17, 2020 was at 9,956,557 making it the second-highest in the world and exceeding that of Brazil as of September 7, 2020. When comparing the spatial and temporal trends of India to the rest of the world in Figure 1, the blazing question arises that even though India is China’s immediate over populated neighbor, why was this novel disease late in establishing a foothold in India? We will touch upon this epidemiologic concern in the Discussion section. The data also makes us ponder whether India will surpass the United States of America in recrudescence as it surpassed the Russian Federation on July 6, 2020 with 22,252 new cases as well as with Brazil on September 7, 2020 with 90,802 cases (1). What dynamic roles do India’s socio cultural characteristics play in making this a delayed hotspot? How is India prepared to face the burdens of this expanding pandemic? In this paper, we look at underlying factors that determine India’s status to tackle a pandemic and also generate informed discussions on some of the mind-tickling queries that can support and guide public health efforts in the region by analyzing epidemiological data accessed from SMAART (Sustainable, Multisector, Accessible, Affordable, Reimbursable, and Tailored) RAPID (Research-enabled Action-oriented Policy Interventions driven by Data) Tracker.


SMAART is a Population Health Informatics (PopHI) framework designed using principles of data, information, and knowledge (DIK); human-centered approach; cognitive fit theory; information processing theory; and humanistic, behavioral, and learning theories (1). As an interactive dashboard, SMAART RAPID Tracker was designed in response to the rapidly changing landscape of both the incidence and mortality of COVID-19 as well as the great variance in policy actions across the globe. The RAPID Tracker is a policy informatics tool using the SMAART informatics framework to track the geospatial spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak and policy actions globally. The platform facilitates the integration of data related to the novel coronavirus with the policy actions of various governments globally. This provides a unique opportunity to evaluate the impact of the policies on the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.

As an interactive dashboard, SMAART RAPID (Research enabled Action oriented Policy Interventions driven by Data) Tracker designed in response to the rapidly changing landscape of both the incidence and mortality of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as well as the great variance in policy actions across the globe. The platform facilitates integration of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) related data with policy actions of various governments globally. The dashboard aggregates publicly available but verified information on the burden of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as well as aggregating policies/advisories and the timeline in which they were enacted for each country. This structure emphasizes the importance of considering both the epidemiological and political realities to understand what types of non-pharmaceutical interventions are effective. This becomes even more important with the resurgence of cases in countries and areas that previously experienced declines.