Coronavirus cases and deaths in India much lower than global average

India currently figures among the countries that are least affected by coronavirus if the population density is taken into account.

India has only one positive case of coronavirus for every million of its population against a global average of over 120 cases/million and the country fares even better on ‘deaths per million’ statistics with a figure of 0.04 against the world average of over 6 deaths per million, according to the data available on Worldometers, a website that records all coronavirus cases across the world and follows them to their outcome—cure or death.

If the data of all the countries that have so far reported at least one coronavirus case is analysed on the basis of ‘deaths per million’, then India would rank 133rd among the 208 countries listed on the website. Several European countries including Italy, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Switzerland and the UK top the list of countries with most deaths per million, giving an indication of the high intensity of fatalities in these countries. Iran is the only Asian country among the top twenty, if one goes by deaths/million calculation and the United States, that has so far registered the most number of coronavirus victims, is 21st on the list.

However, if one were to look at infections/million of population, then India is ranked even further lower at the 178th spot, with only Bangladesh and Nepal being the other Asian countries with even lower average of 0.3 and 0.2 positive cases per million. Reversing this would mean India is among the 25 countries least infected by the virus.

It is important to note that results from calculations to arrive at an accurate fatality rate during the outbreak of any disease/pandemic is considered to be flawed at best since the behaviour of the undecided or unresolved cases and the impact of the future waves can’t be predicted. However, a comparison can be down with averages available at different stages of the outbreak to arrive at a sense of its progression or life cycle.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said in his opening remarks at the March 3 media briefing on Covid-19 that “Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died. By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far less than 1% of those infected.” The initial WHO estimate for coronavirus fatalities, announced on January 29, was 2%

A WHO-China Joint Mission report published on February 28 analysed 55,924 laboratory-confirmed cases to put the CFR to 3.8% or to 2,114 deaths. However, it also noted that the overall CFR varies by location and intensity of transmission as seen for Wuhan at 5.8% versus the rest of China, at 0.7%.

There is another variable that needs to be kept in mind before jumping to conclusions about the transmission of the disease and its ultimate impact in terms of loss of lives in India. In China, the overall CFR was higher in the early stages of the outbreak as it stood at an alarming 17.3% for cases with symptom onset from 1-10 January but it reduced over time to 0.7% for patients with symptom onset after February 1. Mortality rate for SARS at 10% and for MERS at 34%, also provide another perspective to look at Sars-CoV-2’s impact on the world.

Source: Hindustan Times

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