Covid Track: India Still Under Severe Constraints

Even though the Centre has claimed that India’s COVID-19 cases have crossed the peak, there is a gloomy portent of things to come. While official statistics on how the virus has affected GDP growth in various countries typically come with a time lag, Google has an ongoing mobility survey based on anonymised tracking of places that people visit over a period of time. Besides taking lives and infecting millions of people around the world, the COVID pandemic has taken a serious toll on the world’s economy.

The three countries that top the list of COVID infections and deaths are India, USA, and Brazil. Google has compiled aggregated, anonymised trends of movement of people—viz. footfalls in commercial centres; entertainment venues; pharmacies; groceries; workplaces; and so on.

The Google Community Mobility Report in the infographic below compares the movement of people in India, Brazil and the US—the three regions that have recorded the highest incidence and spread of the virus. The data, which tracks those parameters between Friday August 31 and Friday September 11, speak for themselves.

India, where a total lockdown was put in place across the country on March 24, 2020 and which was lifted in phases, has been badly affected in terms of economic activity. In terms of mobility of people, the numbers show that the movement of people—whether it is to pharmacies, groceries, workplaces, or entertainment destination—in India has been severely restricted. Relative to Brazil and the USA, the mobility survey implies that economic activity (which is correlated to people’s mobility and movements where commerce is transacted) in India is under severe constraints.

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