Even when COVID-19 tightened its grip, the mystery behind the low death rate from the infection in India has been the topic of discussion globally. Experts and researchers are interested in how India, with its large population, is able to cope up with the pandemic.
Nearly two months since its first recorded case, COVID-19 active infection in India has surpassed 22,000 with over 1,000 deaths.
Understand the death rate
One way to understand the death rate is to track how many days it takes for total deaths to double.
Currently, India takes around ten days to double up the deaths when compared three before the lockdown on March 25 as per the Government report.
Experts say that when compared to other nations, the doubling time of India is several folds slow.
Medical professionals stated that the lockdown has helped to bring down the count of infection. In a nation with lots of community, the community spread has not yet been reported, which is a notable success. The lockdown has already provided with the desired result of flattening the curve of coronavirus.
While some believe that India, with its predominantly young population, is helping to keep the mortality rate low –as elders have a higher chance of getting infected. This might be one reason why, compared to other nations like China, the US has a more fatality rate than that of India.
Yet there are talks about the possibility of the presence of a less virulent strain of the virus in India, along with the hot weather of the nation. However, these two claims have no evidence to back it. Moreover, medical professionals stated that the contagion is as virulent here as has been reported elsewhere in the world.
Is India an exception when it comes to COVID-19?
“To be totally frank, I don’t know, and the world doesn’t know the answer,” Indian-American physician and oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee told journalist Barkha Dutt recently. “It’s a mystery, I’d say, and part of the mystery is we are not doing enough testing. If we tested more, then we’d know the answer,” quoted BBC.
He is pointed out towards the lack of testing happening in India when compared to its population. By early April, India had scaled its testing capacity to one lakh per day, which is very low when related to its 1.37 billion people.
Are deaths not being recorded?
It was reported that other countries like China have been holding up the actual number of deaths due to COVID-19.
American President Donald Trump, in mid- April, claimed that the exact number of deaths in China is “way ahead” of the US. Following this allegation, China revised the number of fatalities in Wuhan from 1,290 to 9,869—a 50 per cent increase from its previous count.
According to an analysis made by Financial Times, the death toll from coronavirus may be almost 60 per cent higher than reported in official counts, based on an overall fatalities during the pandemic in 14 countries. So the possibility of India also not recording the actual count of death is inevitable.
Recording of deaths in India:
Medical professionals state that in India, most of the deaths happen at home rather than at the hospital, so relying merely on the hospital record will not provide an accurate number of COVID-19 fatalities.
It is quite challenging to get the count from the burial ground or cemetery, due to diversity in which the ceremony of the funeral happens
However, medical experts believe that it is also not possible that a sudden spike in death either in hospitals or at homes will go unnoticed.
Nonetheless, the possibility of a proper record due to the absence of a robust public health surveillance system can’t be ignored.
How to know that a person died due to COVID-19?
Indian doctors reported that many people die from COVID-19 without even making to the test or treatment. It is evident that countries across the globe do not have a proper count of death caused by COVID-19, because of which under-reporting happens.
In some cases, after the death, people might notify the medical authorities that the person had suffered from influence like symptoms. However, we can’t push the chance of a person having some other diseases.
There is also the likelihood that the Government to avoid panic among the citizens do not project the exact death toll. However, a massive number of deaths can never go unnoticed or covered.
In the case of India, we can say that even if there are missing deaths, and lack of testing projecting the exact number of infected, it is undeniable that the country has been able to contain the virus so far. Nevertheless, it is too early to say that India has set the trend in checking the infection; the situation, once the lockdown is lifted, is yet to be witnessed.