India currently reports 4.37 million cases out of which 73,890 have died, with a major toll on Maharashtra that has registered 27,407 deaths from coronavirus, so far. Public health experts are questioning the rate of testing in the country of 1.3 billion, which reportedly stands at 45,509,380 tests conducted so far. But the rate of mortality in the country is what is getting more attention now.
Experts believe that thousands die daily in India, and their bodies are being disposed of without testing them for Corona. The annual death rate in India is 7.3 deaths per thousand, which means at least 25,000 people die every day in the country.
The testing policies in the villages and slums are under doubt, and such acts are controlling the rate of mortality in India due to the coronavirus. The fatality rate of 1.77 in a country of 1.3 billion seems to have surprised many, as it stands lower than most countries of the world. WHO had initially said that in order to attain the exact infection-fatality ratio, “a complete picture of the number of infections of, and deaths caused by, the disease must be known. However, most estimates of fatality ratios have been based on cases detected through surveillance and calculated using crude methods.”
Categories of underreporting
There are many cases where people have died of COVID, but there is no record of it. This kind of underreporting is mostly being done on two levels:
- The city is counting only those deaths that initially tested positive for the virus, being called ‘confirmed COVID-19 death.’ They do not include those who had the symptoms but were not tested or tested negative or had inconclusive test results. These are the ‘suspected deaths,’ and there is no official record of it whatsoever.
- The second kind of underreporting is where the cities and states are entirely hiding the statistics and not reporting even the total confirmed deaths. Most of such cases are being reported from Telengana and Gujarat’s Vadodara and Surat.
Coronavirus and women
Another interesting observation is in the mortality rate of women due to the coronavirus. In May, the Indian Council for Medical Research published an analysis of one million diagnostic tests in India and found that men made the majority of the positive cases because women were not being tested enough.
In light of recent statistics, there is a public notion that women are less susceptible to the virus, but this is still unclear. Most large countries show a similar disparity in the positive cases between men and women, but the reasons behind them have not been studied enough. However, there is enough evidence to show that there is no difference in the risk of death posed by the coronavirus. So whatever is the reason for less positive cases in women, if they are not being tested enough, it is equally fatal.
The Policytimes take on this matter
- The number of tests happening in the country needs to be monitored remotely.
- The mainstream media should focus on the inability of the government to contain the virus.
- Gender bias in the country is getting evident even in a pandemic, so necessary steps should be taken to conduct more tests.
- All the data gathered from different countries will later help scientists to learn more about the coronavirus. If the states are not transparent now, they are only delaying the probability of a vaccine and avoidance of such virus emergence in the future.