Are the coronavirus deaths under reported?

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There have been more than 51,000 deaths due to corona virus in India. In this way, India has become the fourth worst affected country in the world in terms of deaths due to corona virus. However, the number of deaths in India for every 1 million people is 34, which is much lower than the rate of deaths from Corona in Europe or North America.

The case quality rate or CFR measuring deaths in Covid-19 patients is currently around 2%. Even in the worst affected state Maharashtra, the death toll is doubling every 40 days.

Is young population the cause of low mortality?

Older people are generally at greater risk of getting infected by corona virus. It is not clear whether other factors such as immunity arising from previous infection from other viruses are also responsible for this low mortality rate. Also, it also points to the same pattern of low mortality in South Asian countries where there is a young population like India. For example, in Bangladesh, the number of deaths per 1 lakh is 22, while in Pakistan this figure is 28.

India is clearly in a better position than Europe and America.

But, what is the reality?

Despite this, Kaushik Basu, former Chief Economist of the World Bank, says, “It would be irresponsible to console yourself with this.” Basu says that there are limitations to the importance of geographic comparisons. He says, “As soon as you do this, you get to know how bad conditions are in India. Only 3 deaths out of every 10 lakh people have been caused by Covid-19 in China. Then, according to the trends that are coming, India will also leave Afghanistan behind in this matter.”

 Basu says that India is among the few countries where the graph of Corona is not coming down. According to him, “Since the end of March, cases and deaths are not only increasing, but its rate is also going up.”

Are deaths being hidden?

Experts also say that the whole story is not revealed by the low death rate in India. Some people believe that many states are not reporting these deaths on a large scale. Contrary to WHO guidelines, suspicious cases are not being counted in many states.

Second, some states are describing Covid-19 deaths due to pre-existing diseases in patients. According to the investigation of Priyanka Pulla, a journalist related to health matters, Gujarat and Telangana have been seen largely out of the number of cases. In Gujarat’s Vadodara, the number of deaths has increased by only 49% in the last two months, while the cases have increased at a faster rate of 329%.

Third, in some cities, there have been differences between government figures and cremation sites and cemeteries. Also, in India, only one in four deaths is recorded in the papers.

Bhurram Mukherjee, a professor of  biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Michigan, says, “It is difficult to find out on which scale the deaths are decreasing because there are no historical figures and there is no calculation of additional deaths in this period.”

The low count of deaths is not limited to India only. Death figures from 28 countries in July showed that at least 1,61,000 more people have died due to the Corona virus than the figures have recorded.  India was not included in this survey.

Many people within the country have posed the question that how can the mortality rate be this low. The reason could actually be low deaths due to immunity, age, and other such factors. But it could also be the low number of recorded and reported covid deaths.

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