While coronavirus cases surge in the country, the fatality rate is as low as 1.86%. With the average daily number of recoveries on a “constant upward move, the country’s fatality rate is one of the weakest in the world.
Fatality Rate Decreases
With 67,151 new cases and 1,059 deaths, the number of coronavirus in India crossed 3.2 million mark. However, Union Health Ministry data reveals that the country has a recovery rate of over 76%. The total numbers of recoveries stand at 24,67,758, which is 3.5 times the active cases as on date. Rajesh Bhushan, Union health secretary, said that the positivity rate of Covid-19 has come down to 8% from 11% in the first week of August. He added that while 36% of the deaths are from the age group of 45-60 years, 51% of deaths reported are from above the age of 60. The government is testing around 600 tests per million per day at present.
Undercounting of Deaths
Several experts believe that India’s low fatality rate does not represent the whole story. They say that several states are undercounting cases. Besides, many states are relating deaths of COVID-19 patients with comorbidities. Moreover, there have been discrepancies between the official toll from the virus and the counts from burial ground and crematories. Professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan, Bhramar Mukherjee, says that finding the extent of undercounting is a challenge. However, historical data released by municipalities can help in determining the excess deaths during this period. From the University of Toronto, Prabhat Jha, who led the Million Death Study, said that undercounting death is not common only in India. Several high-income countries with the right medical certification undercount 30-60% of daily death.
WHO Expresses Concerns Over Herd Immunity
Dr Mike Ryan, ED of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Programme, highlights that the world is nowhere close to having herd immunity levels to stop the coronavirus. He further added that estimating the level of 70% of the population as developing immunity through either exposure or vaccine is a mere distraction. Also, he said that these estimates are irrelevant and we must not live in the hope of herd immunity.
To conclude, cases in India are continually rising at an alarming rate. Governments must focus on to scale up measures like contact tracing and social distancing. Also, they should continue efforts for the development of the vaccine.