India has the second highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world. It has already surpassed Brazil in terms of numbers and only next to United States at the moment. However, experts have said the actual number of coronavirus cases in India may be much higher than that has been stated officially. Lower testing rate may be the reason behind it.
Right now, there are about 17.3 million confirmed cases in India while USA has about 31.1 million cases. India is in the midst of second wave at the moment with the daily number of cases about 3.86 lakhs.
Through testing, only a fraction of cases is being determined. That it actually exists. India has a huge population of 1.3 billion people. Further Laxminarayan has said “For every 30 infections, you’re pretty much only picking up one as a case.” Therefore, it is quite natural to see disparity between the official numbers and actual numbers. Over one year time, India has certainly increased its testing capacity. However, the virus may be still rampant within the population. He has added “I would still apply the 30-fold undercount even now”
By calculating in a methodical manner, actual number of cases in the India can be detected around 400 million. So, it is way more than USA. Laxminarayan has also said “400 million infections in a country the size of India still means that a billion people are not infected. So there’s still plenty of room for infection, even with a lot of people [already] being infected.”
Post September 2020, decline in the infection rate has been seen. However, it has started to increase once again from the month of March. From the beginning of April, India has passed the first wave coronavirus as far as the numbers of new cases are concerned. Vaccination has started in India also. Till now 100 million doses have been administered which has benefitted the front line workers and elderly people over 60 mostly.
The number of confirmed deaths is about 195, 123 which may be just behind US, Brazil and Mexico. However, these numbers may not be accurate. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, about 21% deaths have been reported. On this Laxminarayan has said “If you’re undercounting cases by a factor of 30, is it possible that we’re undercounting deaths as well? Of course. For 80% of deaths, we have no medically identified cause of death at any given time.”
Reason behind India’s low death rate in spite of the pandemic in massive scale is its younger population. Severe reaction due to COVID-19 is generally not seen with the younger people. Therefore, they are less likely to die from the disease.
However, experts have said “It is a myth that Indians have a lower fatality rate.”According to Laxminarayan, Indians have been encouraged to become complacent. It is also said “The declarations of victory were not really helpful in terms of getting people to continue to take the virus seriously. And that’s largely responsible for the attitudes that have brought the virus back”