In its daily press briefing, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released data on India’s COVID-19 situation in terms of cases, deaths and recoveries as of Tuesday, 26 May.
Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry, said “India reported 0.3 percent deaths per lakh population and the main reason for lowest fatality rate is lockdown in the country and how India prepared for it.”
The country has a total of 1,45,380 cases, 60,491 recoveries and 4,167 deaths. From 7.1% in March, India’s recovery rate is now around 41.6 percent, the data revealed (Figure 1). There were 6,535 new cases added in 24 hours and 146 new fatalities.
On 25 May, India entered the Top 10 worst-hit countries by the Coronavirus pandemic. The other nine countries ahead of India are - US, Brazil, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany, and Turkey. In terms of daily increase in number of cases, India now ranks fourth – after the US, Brazil and Russia, The Wire reported.
Fatality Rate Among the Lowest: Govt
The ministry representative added that while the global average for case fatality is around 6.4 percent, for India the figure is under 3 percent (Figure 2), which can be considered among the lowest in countries severely impacted by the disease.
But if we look at the number of days it took for the deathsfrom COVID-19 to double as of May 24, 2020, India’s 16 days is lesser than the US’ 31, Italy’s 48, UK’s 34 or China’s 93, according to an analysis by Statista.
Also, the declining rate (Figure 3) can also be a function of the increase in confirmed cases, among other factors.
Moreover, as FIT had earlier reported, this low death rate in India could be attributed to a host of factors, including India's historically abysmal death reporting - only 22% deaths here are medically certified. Shiva Ayyar, Head of Critical Care at Bharati Hospital, Bharatiya Vidyapeeth Medical College, Pune told FIT, “The mortality rate in India should be understood to be deceptive. Deaths are significantly underreported here. Due to abysmally low levels of testing the denominator number of diagnosed cases is also low. Suspected cases leading to death are not counted, again contributing to low deaths. The number of cases in India does appear to be low now but this may change over time as the lockdown is lifted.”
India Has Rapidly Increased Its Testing: ICMR
Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) representative informed that 1.1 lakh samples are being conducted daily over 612 labs across the country. Prof Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General, ICMR said that indigenous manufacturers have come forward and have been facilitated in RT PCR-kits, VTM, swabs and RNA extraction kits, which has further helped us enhance our testing.
If we look at tests conducted per million population, however, India is among the lowest, as this analysis reveals.
The ICMR has said that guidelines have been issued to states advising immediate testing for symptomatic and home quarantine for asymptomatic migrant workers. Most states have been working with National Tuberculosis Elimination Program (NTEP) to deploy TrueNAT machines for COVID-19 testing.
In its presentation, the health ministry highlighted the need to focus on prevention and early detection of cases, physical distancing as a ‘social vaccine’, use of face masks and covers in public places, and the maintenance of hand and respiratory hygiene.
. Read more on Fit by The Quint.RSS & BJP’s Nehru-Netaji ‘Cosplay’: Irony Dies a Thousand DeathsCOVID-19: India Records 6,535 New Cases, Total Tally at 1,45,380 . Read more on Fit by The Quint.