Of these, India has by far the highest growth rate of cases, adding on average nearly 22,000 a day at a rate of 3.5%. None of the others has averaged more than 7,000 cases a day over the last week or has a growth rate of over 2%.
After initially classifying countries based on the data they submitted, from April 9, the WHO decided to let countries classify themselves along with a slight tweak in the stages of transmission, introducing a new stage called “clusters of cases” defined as countries “experiencing cases, clustered in time, geographic location and/or by common exposures”.
India and this handful of others with a large number of cases have chosen to classify themselves at the stage of “clusters of cases” from that time onwards.
The only other countries with more than 50,000 cumulative cases that are currently not classified as being in the “community transmission” stage are Spain, Germany and China. Spain and Germany with over 2 lakh cases each, had earlier classified themselves as experiencing community transmission, but with the average of daily additions dropping to a few hundred have listed themselves as now in the stage of “cluster of cases”. While Germany stopped classifying itself in the community transmission stage on June 15, Spain did so on July 2.
In China, the cases had started declining even before the change in classification methodology announced by the WHO. It had been classified as “local transmission” by the WHO by March 18. Currently, China with barely 10-15 cases being reported daily is classified at the stage of “cluster of cases”.
Of the 22 countries where the daily average of new cases is above thousand in the past seven days, 16 including the US, Brazil, South Africa, Bangladesh and Indonesia have classified their outbreaks as being at the community transmission stage. As on July 7, there were 33 countries with over 50,000 cumulative cases.
As per the WHO definition, community transmission occurs when countries experience a large number of cases not linkable to transmission chains with multiple clusters in different areas and face challenges with tracking all chains of spread.