India coronavirus cases: Coronavirus-related deaths in India have almost touched one lakh now. As on Thursday, 99,773 deaths have been recorded in the country. That already accounts for close to 10 per cent of all the recorded coronavirus deaths in the world.
In fact, on a daily basis, India is contributing as high as 15 to 25 per cent of global deaths these days. Globally, between 4,000 and 6,000 deaths are being reported every day, while India has been consistently reporting more than 1,000 deaths for over a month now. Even the United States, the only country to have recorded more coronavirus deaths than India, has been reporting considerably lesser number of deaths now, on some days less than 300.
The deaths per million population, however, is still very low in India, nearly half the world average. Only about 72 deaths per million population have happened in the country so far, while globally 131 people have died per million population. That has led to question marks about the authenticity of death numbers in India. Considering the large number of cases in India and the relatively poor health infrastructure, the death count was expected to be much higher. On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump, in an effort to defend his own government’s record in minimising loss of lives due to the disease, suggested that India was under-reporting its death numbers.
In fact, most scientists and health experts also believe that deaths in India might be somewhat under-reported, but no one is quite sure about the extent of this under-reporting. The daily reporting of coronavirus deaths remained very steady in the month of September, between 1,000 and 1,200, but then there has been no surge in the new infections as well. For most of September, between 80,000 and 90,000 new cases have been reported every day. Any surge in cases usually gets reflected in the death numbers after a gap of about two weeks.
The case fatality ratio (CFR), or the number of deaths out of total number of confirmed infections, has been declining slowly for over three months now. In the month of September, the CFR fell from 1.76 per cent to 1.56 per cent.
A first-of-its-kind study on the coronavirus situation in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, published in Science on Wednesday, throws some light on why the death rate could be lower in India compared to other countries. The study, which relied data on about 85,000 infected people in these two states, found that the death rate in the older population was far less than what has been observed in some developed countries. Even amongst people in the age group of 85 years and above, the coronavirus death rate was only 16.6 per cent, nearly half of what has been reported by some countries. In the United States and European countries, deaths have risen sharply in higher age groups of 60 and above. In India also, it is higher than lower age groups, but not as high as in other countries.
Gautam Menon, a professor of biology and physics at the Ashoka University, says if these numbers were correct, this finding could be conveying something very significant about the nature of the disease in Indian population. In relative terms, the disease could actually be killing lesser number of people in India.
On Thursday, 1,095 deaths were reported from across the country. More than 81,000 new cases were detected, taking the total number of people who have tested positive so far to 63.94 lakh. Of these, 53.52 lakh, or about 84 per cent, have already recovered from the disease.
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Several states touched new milestones on Thursday. The total caseload crossed 14 lakh figure in Maharashtra, and seven lakh in Andhra Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh touched the four lakh figure, while Kerala, the fastest growing state in the country right now, saw its numbers go past two lakh, the ninth state to do so. For the second successive day, Kerala recorded more than 8,000 new cases. The state also reported 29 coronavirus-related deaths, the highest it has registered till now. The state has recorded 805 deaths among coronavirus positive patients till now, including the ones that have been assessed by the state government to have died of co-morbidities.
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