What is the REAL Covid Death Toll in India? Experts say as many as 1.6 MILLION people could have died
The real coronavirus death toll in India could be as high as 1.6 million, compared to the official 310,000 reported fatalities, experts fear.
Last week, the virus-ravaged Asian country recorded 4,529 deaths in one day, the highest 24-hour toll in any country during the pandemic.
But an analysis by the New York Times suggests that the toll could be at least double the official number, namely 600,000 – raising concerns about massive undervaluation.
The paper’s ‘more likely’ scenario estimates the number of deaths at 1.6 million, while the worst case could be 4.2 million.
In comparison, Britain recorded just nine deaths today and more than 127,000 deaths in total. The US has registered about 590,000, believed to be an under-number, out of a population of about 330 million.
The real coronavirus death toll in India could be as high as 1.6 million, compared to the official 310,000 reported fatalities, experts fear. Last week, the virus-ravaged Asian nation recorded about 4,500 deaths in one day, the highest daily toll in any country during the pandemic.
Ambulance workers carry the body of a Covid-19 victim at a crematorium in Guwahati on May 26, 2021
Indian covid patients now contract deadly ‘black fungus’ infection with a spike, causing a shortage of drugs to treat it
A growing number of current and recovered Covid-19 patients in India are contracting a deadly and rare fungal infection, doctors said Monday.
Mucormycosis, referred to by doctors as ‘black fungus’, is usually most aggressive in patients whose immune systems have been weakened by other infections.
“ The rate of mucormycosis infection in Covid-19 patients after recovery is nearly four to five times higher than before the pandemic, ” said Atul Patel, infectious disease specialist in Ahmedabad, a member of Covid-19’s task force the state.
In the western state of Maharashtra, home to Mumbai, India’s financial hub, up to 300 cases have been discovered, said Khusrav Bajan, a consultant at PD Hinduja National Hospital in Mumbai and a member of the state’s Covid-19 task force.
According to data from state hospitals, about 300 cases have been reported so far in four cities in Gujarat, including the largest city of Ahmedabad.
The Western state ordered government hospitals to set up separate treatment units for patients infected with ‘black fungus’ amid the proliferation of cases.
“Mucormycosis – if not paid attention – can become fatal,” said the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), the scientific body leading the government’s response, in a treatment schedule published on Twitter. O used steroids during their virus treatment, and those who had long-term hospital stay in ICUs, the ICMR added.
Reporting by AFP
Official figures in India put the toll at 310,000 on a population of 1.4 billion.
In consultation with more than a dozen experts, the Times found it difficult to even get a clear picture of the total number of infections in India due to poor records and a lack of widespread testing.
Kayoko Shioda, an epidemiologist at Emory University, said the under-grade could be even more pronounced as hospitals are overwhelmed.
This could mean that many deaths with coronavirus occur in the home, especially in rural areas – and thus are excluded from the count.
Ms. Shioda also suggested that laboratories that could confirm the cause of death are as overrun as the virus is wreaking havoc on the subcontinent.
Other researchers have found few coronavirus tests available and families are unwilling to say their loved ones have died from the virus.
The death registry system in India is also unreliable, with only four out of five deaths not medically investigated before the pandemic.
Dr. Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy, told the New York Times, “As in most countries, the total number of infections and deaths in India is too low. The best way to arrive at the most likely scenario is by triangulating data from different sources, which would indicate approximately 500-600 million infections. ‘
The paper reached its estimates using data from three nationwide antibody tests called serosurveys. About 30,000 people are examined in each survey, and researchers extrapolate that data point to arrive at a national estimate.
The conservative scenario assumed a real infection count 15 times higher than the official number of recorded cases.
It also assumed an infection death rate of 0.15 percent – a figure at the bottom of the estimates it gathered from experts.
The latest national seroprevalence study ended in January, before the current wave, and estimated about 26 infections per reported case.
In this scenario, the estimated number of deaths in India is more than five times the officially reported number – about 1.6 million versus 310,000.
The paper’s worst-case scenario used a little higher estimate of real infections per known case, to account for the current wave.
The death rate from infections is also higher, at 0.6 percent, to account for the collapse of the Indian health system during the wave.
In the Asian nation, hospital beds, oxygen and other medical supplies were in short supply – meaning that a higher proportion of people who contract the virus could die, increasing the death rate from infections.
A World Health Organization report last week estimated that the global death toll could be two or three times higher than reported.
Police officers stand next to bodies buried in shallow graves on the banks of the Ganges River in Prayagraj, India, May 15, 2021
Family members carry a corpse past shallow graves covered in saffron garments of suspected Covid-19 victims near a cremation site on the banks of the Ganges River in the village of Shringverpur, May 15, 2021
It comes after the Indian government had to assure its citizens that 5G has not caused the second wave of coronavirus after a wave of conspiracy theories circulating on social media.
Officials pointed out that there are no 5G networks in India, as the country only approved 5G trials last week and they won’t start until months.
The government described the conspiracy theories as ‘baseless and false’ and urged the public not to be ‘misled’ by the rumors.
The Indian Ministry of Telecommunications said in a statement: “ Several misleading messages are being circulated on various social media platforms claiming that the second wave of coronavirus was caused by the testing of the 5G cell towers.
These reports are false and absolutely incorrect … the general public is hereby informed that there is no link between 5G technology and the proliferation of Covid-19 and urged not to be misled by the false information and rumors disseminated herein matter. ‘
A prominent message circulating on social media states that the radiation from cell phone towers “mixes with the air and renders it toxic and therefore people have trouble breathing and die,” reports Coda Story.