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The Mystery of Low Death Rate in COVID-19 in India

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Everyone across the world has either raised questions or have already accepted the success of India. People all over the world are talking about, “mystery behind India’s lower death rates” from the Covid-19 infection, and some say that India is “bucking the coronavirus trend”. One talks about the “Indian exception as death rates in major Indian cities are lower compared to global coronavirus hotspots”. 

After 2 months of the first case being reported, India has almost 27000 cases in the country and they have lost almost 800 lives in 2 months. In order to understand the lower death rate concept, one has to understand what time the death rate might increase. 

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In India, this is currently at nine days – there were 825 confirmed deaths on 25 April; compared to about half or so of that number on 16 April.

Experts consider this to be a very good sign, they have said the same thing had happened in New York in the same stage and it happened for just 2-3 days.

Many other experts say that India’s strict lockdown has made it successful to hold on to the number of deaths in control. Another factor that might have resulted in this result is that the majority of the Indian population is middle-aged hence only the elderly people are getting affected severely and fatality happens. 

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Yet others talk about the possibilities of the presence of a less virulent strain of the virus in India, along with the possibility that its hot weather was diminishing the contagion. Both these claims are not backed by any evidence. In fact, doctors treating critical Covid-19 patients have told me that the contagion is as virulent here as has been reported elsewhere in the world.

So is India an outlier when it comes to novel coronavirus fatalities?

“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.”

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