fredag 11. september 2020

India has one of the world's lowest Covid-19 mortality rates. But the numbers don't tell the whole story

For months, India has been struggling to control the coronavirus pandemicwith limited success. The country of 1.3 billion people has the second-highest number of cases globally (more than 4.4 million), and the third highest number of deaths (over 75,000), according to Johns Hopkins University -- and the outbreak shows no sign of abating.

But India's reported mortality rate -- calculated by the number of deaths per 100 confirmed cases -- is surprisingly low compared to other countries with high infection rates. India's Covid-19 mortality rate stands at 1.7%. For context, the same rate is about 3% in the US, 11.7% in the UK, and 12.6% in Italy, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The Indian government claims India's lower death rate is a sign of its success in handling the crisis, and has used the figure to support its decision to lift some coronavirus restrictions. "The average fatality rate in the country is ... continuously going down," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a press release in August. "The target of bringing down the fatality rate below 1% can be achieved soon." But some scientists in India warn that the numbers are incomplete and misleading -- and that relying on them to reopen the country could make matters worse.