'Wrong comparison': Health Ministry on India recording 7th-highest coronavirus cases
The Centre on Tuesday said that it is wrong to compare the absolute number of coronavirus infections in India to other countries owing to the nation's large population. With almost two lakh coronavirus infections, India is the seventh worst-affected nation in the world. India's COVID-19 fatality rate is 2.82%, the Centre said adding that there is no underreporting of deaths. Here are more details.
Union Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said considering the absolute number of COVID-19 cases presents a "wrong" comparison. "Our population should be considered, too." Agarwal said, "If we look at today's data, 14 countries with a population comparable to India have reported 22.5 times more cases and 55.2 times the deaths." Agarwal, however, did not name the countries.
Agarwal highlighted that India's fatality rate is 2.82%, one of the lowest in the world. He said the case fatality rate per lakh population stands at 0.41 and is amongst the lowest in the world. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) scientist Nivedita Gupta also said that there was "no gross underreporting of deaths" in India. Gupta was backed by Agarwal.
Agarwal said that of all COVID-19 deaths in India, 73% include people with co-morbidities, such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. The Health Ministry has confirmed 5,598 deaths so far. Agarwal also said that the 60-74 age group accounts for 8% of all cases and 38% of deaths, while those aged 75 and above account for 2% of cases and 12% of deaths.
When asked if community transmission has started anywhere in India, Gupta said, "Instead of the use of the word 'community transmission', we need to understand the extent of the spread of COVID-19." She also said that India is far from reaching its outbreak peak.
Gupta said that 681 laboratories (476 government labs and 205 private labs) are testing for COVID-19. "Our situation has eased out in terms of testing." She said our nation is conducting an average of 1.2 lakh tests daily adding that India has been using indigenous platforms to ramp up testing. She also said that both Truenat screening and confirmatory tests have now been validated.
India's Health Ministry has confirmed 1,98,706 COVID-19 cases, including 5,598 deaths, 97,581 active cases, and 95,526 recoveries. Agarwal sought to highlight that India's recovery rate has improved to 48.07% while the fatality rate has dipped. Agarwal also confirmed that India has approved Gilead Sciences Inc.'s antiviral drug remdesivir for emergency use in treating COVID-19 patients.