Report #3

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Confirmed Cases

The charts above show the progression of COVID-19 in Nepal ever since the first case was detected in January of this year.

The chart on the left shows the growth in the total number of cumulative cases across the country. We note that while the total had started to stabilize around July, since August, the path is back to exponential growth. As of the day of writing 37340 cases have been identified across the country, of which 16284 cases are still active. Identified cases have been growing at a rate of 2.64% over the past week, a relative decrease of 0.03% compared to the week before.  

An exponential resurgence of cases is supported by the chart on the right, which shows the same data (cumulative cases) but in the Logarithmic (natural) scale. Essentially, the scale allows us to see what the “curve” in Nepal looks like. Since a 1-point increase in the log scale is equivalent to about 3000 new cases, the increase in the curve on right shows some cause for concern. 

High Growth Areas

The chart above compares the “curve” for Nepal with that of specific districts. Over the past week, we are seeing a spike in cases in: Manang, Bhojpur, Bardiya, Solukhumbu and Dolpa; whereas Bajura, Palpa and Syangja seem to have flattened the curve.



Digging a little deeper, the chart above – which shows the number of cases for specific municipalities since July – highlights areas where the growth in COVID-19 cases has spiked only recently (past week). Official records show that Budhanilkantha (Kathmandu district) has managed to control the growth of cases, whereas Haripur (Sarlahi district), Siyari (Rupandehi district), Bharatpur (Chitwan district) and Paterwa Sugauli (Parsa district) are being affected particularly strongly.

Geographic Breakdown

Unlike other countries where there was steady growth in COVID-19 cases through local transmission, in Nepal the situation seems to have been quite different. The combination of a porous border with neighboring India, where a large proportion of the population live and work, and a phased out lockdown in both countries, Nepal saw a significant inflow of people in the bordering areas, where – as the map above shows – the number of identified COVID-19 cases have been the highest to date. Kathmandu is now clearly the most affected district in Nepal.

Demographic Breakdown

A demographic analysis of identified COVID-19 cases shows that most cases have been identified in a much younger portion of the population. This holds true regardless of gender and can be hypothesized to be the result of a correlation between the younger and migrant worker populations. In terms of gender breakdown, where data on gender is available, 82.5% of the identified cases so far have been Male while only 17.5% have been Female. Once again, this could be the result of migratory factors. We are now seeing the number of Female cases increase over the past couple of weeks.

Cluster Analysis of Municipalities

  • Aggregating the demographic information (gender, age and current status) available in our dataset, we decided to carry out a clustering analysis in order to group affected areas in Nepal based on similar characteristics. Our analysis, which was done on the municipal level, revealed that we could separate 168 municipalities that have had COVID-19 cases so far into 5 groups. The groupings are as follows:

    COVID Current Hotspots: 68 municipalities in this cluster are characterized by their high percentage of active cases (48%, on average). We note that the average percentage of Female’s being affected in this cluster is higher than the national average, which has become a topic of discussion in the media recently.
  • Overall Hotspots: 18 municipalities in this cluster are characterized by the fact that, on average, the virus had affected people relatively equally across age and gender, but currently have majority of the identified cases already recovered. These are the Overall Hotspots that have managed to contain the virus.
  • Hit To Young Males: 69 municipalities in this cluster are characterized by a very high level of Males below the age of 35, on average, being identified with the virus. The rate of infections in Male’s in these municipalities are higher than the national average.
  • Hit To Middle Age Males: 11 municipalities in this cluster are characterized by a very high level of Males between the ages of 35 and 69, on average, being identified with the virus. The rate of infections in Male’s in these municipalities are higher than the national average.
  • No recovery: Only 2 municipalities in this cluster, which are characterized by the fact that they had a high fatality rate (but with only 2 deaths in the entire cluster).

A summary of the average characteristics of each grouping is given below:

Of the clusters, we note that the Hit to Young Males and Hit to Middle Age Males clusters could be of interest to those readers who are looking into age and/or gender-based re-education or re-employment programs. For example, the Hit to Middle Age Males is the cluster where the “working-age” population could be targeted for employment programs.

 

As always, there are caveats to the above. The age variable is only available for 1094 cases and the gender variable is missing for a 100 or so cases. We could have filled in the missing variables using the average number (mean) / most common gender (mode) for the municipality, but we refrained from doing so, given that we would have had to impute values for around 97% of the cases. There is a very good argument for removing the age variable from our analysis, but we chose the “some information is better than no information” route. Besides, for some municipalities, this information is available for either majority or all the cases, so we wanted the possibility of separating these municipalities into a separate cluster.

Key Takeaways

COVID-19 is rising exponentially at national Level   We are seeing an average rise of around 2.64% confirmed cases per day over the past week, a decline of 0.03% compared to the week before. Death rates are increasing by around 0.44% per day, on average, over the past week with the highest at 21 deaths on the 20th of August 2020. Paterwa Sugauli (35), Budhanilkantha (18), and Belbari (16) municipalities, show the highest death rates so far. In Manang, Bhojpur, Bardiya, Solukhumbu and Dolpa, the number of cases is increasing while in Bajura, Palpa and Syangja, the cases have stabilized over the past week. The new municipal hotspots for the COVID-19 are Budhanilkantha, Haripur, Siyari, Bharatpur, and Paterwa Sugauli. From a district perspective, Kathmandu is now the most affected area in all of Nepal.  Cluster Analysis of Municipalities We were able to group 168 municipalities where COVID-19 cases have been identified into 5 clusters. The names and key characteristics of these clusters are:COVID Current Hotspots: 68 municipalities with a high average number of active cases (compared to total cases)Overall Hotspots: 18 municipalities where most of the population has already recovered. Hit Young Males: 69 municipalities where the average number of affected Males is higher than the country average, and a significant portion of this population, on average, is below 35. Hit Middle Age Males: 11 municipalities where the average number of affected Males is higher than the country average, and a significant portion of this population, on average, is between 35 and 69 – or “working age”. No recovery: 2 municipalities which have had 2 deaths out of 4 cases, (a higher than the average number for the country). Like most of our work, this analysis also comes with certain caveats related to data availability, which are mentioned above.

If you have any feedback on the report or believe we can be of any help to your organization, please get in touch with us at info@copenepal.org

Acknowledgements

The authors of this report work as a part of the team that started the Cope initiative. Cope was formed in early May 2020 by a group of volunteers with experience in Data Analytics and Social Media Management. This report has been prepared voluntarily through Cope Nepal, for information purposes only and without any commercial interests.

Appendix

Covid Current Hotspots:

‘Aalital’, ‘Apihimal’, ‘Aurahi’, ‘Banphikot’, ‘Barhadashi’, ‘Belbari’,

       ‘Bhaktapur’, ‘Bharatpur’, ‘Bhirkot’, ‘Bhojpur’, ‘Bigu’, ‘Birendranagar’,

       ‘Brindaban’, ‘Buddhabhumi’, ‘Budhanilakantha’, ‘Byas’, ‘Dhangadhimai’,

       ‘Dhankuta’, ‘Dhanushadham’, ‘Dharche’, ‘Diktel Rupakot Majhuwagadhi’,

       ‘Gaumul’, ‘Gauriganga’, ‘Ghorahi’, ‘Gokulganga’, ‘Gosaikunda’,

       ‘Guthichaur’, ‘Haripur’, ‘Hupsekot’, ‘Ilam’, ‘Jitpur Simara’, ‘Jugal’,

       ‘Kamalamai’, ‘Khumbu Pasanglhamu’, ‘Konjyosom’, ‘Kuse’, ‘Kushma’,

       ‘Machhapuchchhre’, ‘Makalu’, ‘Makawanpurgadhi’, ‘Mangalsen’,

       ‘Marsyangdi’, ‘Mathagadhi’, ‘Molung’, ‘Mugum Karmarong’, ‘Namobuddha’,

       ‘Narpa Bhumi’, ‘Netrawati Dabjong’, ‘Pachaljharana’, ‘Patan’,

       ‘Paterwa Sugauli’, ‘Phedap’, ‘Phidim’, ‘Putha Uttarganga’, ‘Pyuthan’,

       ‘Raghuganga’, ‘Ramdhuni’, ‘Rapti Sonari’, ‘Resunga’, ‘Rupani’,

       ‘Sarawal’, ‘Shey Phoksundo’, ‘Shikhar’, ‘Simkot’, ‘Siyari’, ‘Surma’,

       ‘Suryagadhi’, ‘Triyuga’

Overall Hotspots:

'Agnisair Krishnasaravan', 'Baglung', 'Bhimphedi', 'Changunarayan',
       'Dhangadhi', 'Himali', 'Inaruwa', 'Itahari', 'Kageshwori Manohara',
       'Kailash', 'Kathmandu', 'Lekabeshi', 'Nepalgunj', 'Ramechhap', 'Saipal',
       'Shivaraj', 'Sisne', 'Sunawal'

Hit To Young Males:

'Aadarsha', 'Arjundhara', 'Barbardiya', 'Bardibas', 'Bhairabi',
       'Bhangaha', 'Bheriganga', 'Binayi Triveni', 'Brahmapuri', 'Butwal',
       'Chakraghatta', 'Chandragiri', 'Chandranagar', 'Chandrapur', 'Dhakari',
       'Dharmadevi', 'Dhawalagiri', 'Dhorpatan', 'Dhulikhel', 'Duduwa',
       'Gaidahawa', 'Gaushala', 'Ghodaghodi', 'Golbazar', 'Gujara',
       'Gulmi Darbar', 'Gurbhakot', 'Ishworpur', 'Janakpurdham', 'Kalaiya',
       'Kalimati', 'Kankai', 'Katahariya', 'Kavilasi', 'Kawasoti', 'Khadak',
       'Kohalpur', 'Kolhabi', 'Lalbandi', 'Lamahi', 'Lo-Ghekar Damodarkunda',
       'Mahabu', 'Maharajganj', 'Malika', 'Mandavi', 'Mirchaiya', 'Mohanyal',
       'Naraha', 'Nijagadh', 'Nilkantha', 'Parsagadhi', 'Phaktanglung',
       'Pipara', 'Rhishing', 'Rolpa', 'Sainamaina', 'Sakhuwa Prasauni',
       'Shambhunath', 'Sharada', 'Shitaganga', 'Shivasatakshi', 'Sonama',
       'Suddhodhan', 'Surnaya', 'Tamankhola', 'Tarakhola', 'Tilottama',
       'Tulsipur', 'Waling'

Hit To Middle Age Males:

['Bardaghat', 'Bhumikasthan', 'Bidur', 'Biratnagar', 'Birgunj',
       'Chandannath', 'Chhathar Jorpati', 'Phatuwa Bijayapur', 'Rambha',
       'Ramgram', 'Tatopani']

No Recovery:

['Narainapur', 'Panchpokhari Thangpal']

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