2.2 million cases and rising . . .
India reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus deaths today, the most the country has recorded in a single day since the pandemic began. Although this spike is partially attributable to the state of Maharashtra, which reported all of its previous week’s numbers in a day, it nonetheless brings India’s death toll to more than 44,000, the fifth-highest globally. India also reported more than 62,000 new COVID-19 cases today, bringing the total official count to 2.2 million cases, which makes India the third most affected country in terms of cumulative caseload after the U.S. and Brazil. India is now reporting more new cases than any other country.
More testing, more cases . . .
One reason for the rise in the number of cases is the significant increase in the number of tests performed throughout India. India performed over 700,000 COVID-19 tests on Saturday, bringing the total number of daily tests close to the Indian Council of Medical Research target of one million tests per day. India began testing in March with an initial capacity of a few hundred tests per day, leading to suggestions that India’s trouble with curbing the COVID-19 outbreak stemmed from a lack of testing, preventing the country from quickly identifying cases and isolating and treating infected patients. While the increased number of cases is a worrying sign for India, more accurate data will help the country adjust its efforts.
A silver lining: a lower death rate . . .
While India is the third most affected country in the world in terms of cases, it has a lower case fatality rate than other countries. India, for example, has a two per cent case fatality rate (CFR), which represents the number of deaths per 100 confirmed cases, compared to 7.4 per cent for Canada and 3.2 per cent for the United States. The global rate is 3.8 per cent. India’s Ministry of Health cites co-ordinated efforts between the central government and states and territories along with an aggressive testing policy for the declining CFR. Various other theories have surfaced to explain India’s low CFR, with some experts pointing to India’s predominantly young population. In India, half of the population is under the age of 25, a group less likely to experience a fatal outcome from contracting the virus.
- Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada: Will India survive the test of COVID-19?
- The Guardian: India surges past 2 million coronavirus cases, angry health workers launch a strike
- Voice of America: India reports record coronavirus deaths