India becomes the third country to record over one million cases. With reaching such an unthinkable threshold, the low death rate due to coronavirus in the country remains a mystery.
Low Death Rate Against the Total Cases
With the third-largest caseload in the world, India continues to see a surge in cases daily. However, the number of deaths which were around 25000, with one million total cases has raised concerns data of fatalities. The low death rate in India seems a mystery to experts as the number of deaths was double with the same amount of cases in the US and Brazil. Currently, India has reported 1154917 cases with 28099 fatalities.
Misreported Coronavirus Deaths
While the Indian government regards the low death rate as a success in fighting the COVID, experts are sceptical about the counting of deaths. They say that data on mortality is uncertain as several people die unnoticed and hence undiagnosed in the rural areas. Also, there are some reports of coronavirus deaths being missed or intentionally misreported. That apart, Russia has also reported around 750,000. However, the number of deaths reported in the country stands at 12000 only (1.6%). While India’s number of deaths against confirmed cases stands at 2.6%, the rate in the United States is 3.9%.
Theories About the Low Death Rate
Prabhat Jha, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, fears that India could face a slow coronavirus time bomb. Further, he mentioned his study and said that the only way out of this pandemic is to know the true scope of the infection. However, it is only possible with the collection of correct data which is currently uncertain in India.
A few alternative theories have sprung to justify the number of deaths in India. Some have considered stimulating the immune system by the tuberculosis vaccine. Others have noted the undiscovered immunological or genetic factors in the population. However, the statements have not been evidenced by research.
No Accurate Data on Deaths
The four metropolitan cities, including Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai, were asked to furnish the COVID death data. However, only Mumbai adhered to the norms and transparently provided the data. The officials found out that the cases were low in March owing to a strict lockdown. However, the death rates surged in May and June.
While people handling graveyards and crematoriums claim that they have registered more COVID deaths, medical officials deny the misreporting. K. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India, said that 20% of deaths go unreported in India as they happen far from cities or at home. Hence, the exact number of coronavirus deaths in India is more than reported. However, no one knows how much more in the absence of research. Also, he accounted for a sizeable young population and a higher density of people in rural areas for low COVID related deaths.
Experts say that it is a challenge to determine factors responsible for variations in death rates even within the same country.
In all, the outbreak in India is not slowing as the confirmed cases, and coronavirus death rates are setting new records every day.