India has been praised by everyone in its efforts of tackling the coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 42,00,000 people and claimed around 2,84,000 lives. The number of cases in India are more than 67,000 and this accounts for less than 5 per cent of the cases in the world. A question that arises is how has India managed to avoid a public health crisis on a large scale?
There may be many reasons as to why India has recorded less number of cases as compared to first world countries. But here are the most likely reasons the country has not been flattened by the Pandemic.
India’s prompt response helps in slowing down COVID-19 infections
The coronavirus pandemic may have infected people later in India as compared to other countries. The first confirmed coronavirus case in India was recorded on January 29, 2020 in Kerala. A delay enabled Kerala to take necessary actions and flatten the curve.
Reports of a large number of confirmed COVID-19 cases started flooding in from March, 2020. This prompted the government to conduct thermal screening of passengers coming in from all the affected countries. In order to curb the outbreak, additional quarantine and treatment facilities were set up.
Did the ‘World’s biggest lockdown’ have a positive impact?
India’s Nationwide lockdown may have played a very big role in slowing down the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Social distancing is one of the effective ways of restricting the spread of the virus. A complete ban on travel and non-essential activities has reduced chances of a spike in COVID-19 infections.
If the number of cases is low because of the lockdown, it will not help in the long run because of the Tablighi Jamaat event, migrants crowding Bandra bus station or Delhi/UP border. These kinds of incidents downplay the actual number of infected people or casualties in India.
Factors helping India in tackling coronavirus
According to a few researchers, factors such as- low ratio of elderly population, tropical climate and the anti-malaria drugs have helped India to avoid this catastrophe on a large scale. According to reports, the mortality rate from COVID-19 infection is more than 14% for the elderly. In India, elderly comprise of only 0.8% of the total population.
However, the fatality rate in coronavirus-related cases rises if someone has an underlying illness. These illnesses can range from chronic respiratory and cardiovascular disease, diabetes etc. Number of infections can witness a sharp spike because of asymptomatic cases and that can cause a fluctuation in numbers.
Another explanation for this is the anti-Malaria drug known as hydroxychloroquine. This drug has had some positive effects in treating coronavirus-related cases. India is also known for its warm climate and young population. So, it is hard to determine which factor has a major role in slowing down the coronavirus infection.
Did India’s failure of mass testing downplay coronavirus numbers?
India has failed to conduct mass testing to count all cases and deaths. Without proper testing, many deaths may be declared as ‘un-related to COVID-19’. Because of this the official statistics may not appreciate the gravity of the situation.
A COVID-19 casualty or a case is usually determined by the Covid RT-PCR test. However, these tests are not inadequate supply and cost a dime for all those who cannot afford these tests. Moreover, unconfirmed coronavirus-like deaths are not reported and that automatically reduces the total tally.
It is puzzling that how has India protected itself from a global pandemic. However, it is still important to maintain and follow rules set by the government. If citizens are careful, informed and healthy, it will not be long before India is coronavirus free.
Curated by Ruchit Rastogi