Where India stands in its fight against coronavirus

In just three weeks, India went from the world’s sixth-worst affected country by the coronavirus to the third, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The South Asian country’s

More than 250,000 samples are being tested daily after months of sluggishness, but experts say this is insufficient for a country of nearly 1.4 billion people.

“This whole thing about the ‘peak’ is a false bogey because we won’t have one peak in India, but a series of peaks,” said Dr Anant Bhan, bioethics and global health researcher.

He pointed out that the capital New Delhi and India’s financial capital, Mumbai, had already seen surges, while infections had now begun spreading to smaller cities as governments eased restrictions. The actual toll would be unknown, he said, unless India made testing more accessible.

Dubious data

The Ministry of Health said on Thursday India was doing “relatively well” managing COVID-19, pointing to 13 deaths per million people, compared with about 400 in the United States and 320 in Brazil.

But knowing the actual toll in India is “absolutely impossible” because there is no reporting mechanism in most places for any kind of death, said Dr Jayaprakash Muliyil, an epidemiologist at the Christian Medical College in Vellore who has been advising the government.

Official data shows 43 percent of the people who have died from the coronavirus were between the ages of 30 and 60, but research globally indicates that the disease is particularly fatal to the elderly, suggesting to Muliyil that many virus deaths among older Indians “don’t get picked up” or counted in the virus death numbers.

‘No central coordination’

In India, public health is managed at a state level, and some have managed better than others. The southern state of Kerala, where India’s first three COVID-19 cases were reported, has been held up as a model.

fragile health system was bolstered during a stringent months-long lockdown but could still be overwhelmed by an exponential rise in infections.

India has tallied 878,254 infections and more than 23,174 deaths, with cases doubling every three weeks. On Sunday, the country reported its highest single-day tally of more than 28,600 cases.

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