Covid-19 pandemic has become a topic of major concern, considering the ongoing scenarios all around the globe. We come across regular updates about the increasing fatalities caused due to this pandemic outbreak. Amidst all this, something that can be seen as a dim light of hope is the graph of recovery which is rising rapidly, supporting the mass expectation worldwide, that soon the world will come out from this virus outbreak and life will regain its normal track.
Analysing the current situation, a wide range of variations can be seen between the rate of spread of the pandemic in different countries. Till 23rd July 2020, in the United States of America, there were 3,868,453 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 141,479 deaths. Similarly, in Brazil, there have been 2,159,654 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 81,487 deaths. Whereas in India, 1,238,635 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 29,861 deaths have been reported. Comparing these official records of The World Health Organization, it can be summed up that the situation in India is slightly better than the other countries. Not only that the reported cases are less in number, but the fatality rate is also much lower as compared with the worldwide condition, which is a definite positive sign. However, the curiosity remains alive about the reason behind this little glad tide and some factors that can support this argument.
The major reason behind the low fatality rate in India can be the fact that the majority of the total population consists of youths. The median age in India is 26.8 years, which is a younger section and is believed to have stronger immunity which makes them comparatively less susceptible to developing severe complications after contracting the infection. Also, while looking closely into the recorded figures, it can found that the number of casualties in India due to this pandemic was majorly from the age group 60 years and above.
According to the data shared by the Union Health Ministry earlier this week, about 63% of deaths have been reported among people aged 60 and above, 30% among people between 40 to 60 years, and only 7% among people below 40 years. People belonging to elderly age groups are at a higher risk of being severely affected by the virus infection, which leads to higher fatalities specifically from this age group, but overall a considerably lower fatality per cent of the country. In countries like Spain and Italy, the casualty rate due to this pandemic is quite high, which can be considered as the cause of their population being dominated by elders, thus exposing them to a high risk of fast and severe infection.
Another factor behind the low mortality rate in India, amongst the Covid-19 patients, can be the early measures that were taken by the country to stop the spreading of the virus infection, while it was still in its initial stage. The ‘21 days lockdown’ action is the major reason behind the low rate of affected and deceased people in India as compared to other countries where curfew and lockdowns were adopted at a much later stage. Social distancing and repeated lockdowns were followed regularly in different states of India, which were no doubt a major hit to its economy but proved to have helped a lot in the survival rate of the people.
During the earliest stage of its outbreak, when there were only a few cases recorded in different parts of the country, the commute system was completely stopped and social distancing was strictly imposed. Further, borders of different states were sealed and rapid measures were adopted to test, record, and treat as many patients as possible.
Under-reporting of Covid-19 deaths can also be a reason contributing to the low fatality rate of the country. The severity of the pandemic in India cannot be underestimated just by considering the official statistics. Testing and recording the affected population and the death rates in a country with such a huge population and from the remotest corner, is not an easy task. Also, because the infection symptoms are vague and can be easily confused with common flu, there is a definite lag in its proper testing and cure. Low death rate of COVID patients in India can be a cause of not so efficient tracking and recording facilities of death, especially for the ones which do not occur in hospitals. Delhi and Mumbai, which are considered to be the most affected by the pandemic were found to be under-reporting due to this very reason.
In terms of medical facilities, we can surely accept that India has been, to an extent, well prepared to handle such a severe situation. This was witnessed in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi, where the situation has considerably worsened in the past few days with increasing demand for medical facilities. In Delhi, the bed capacity has been increased to reduce the pressure on major hospitals. Mumbai and Bengaluru are still struggling with the sudden outburst of cases. Bed capacity and medical facilities in hospitals are stretched beyond their capacities to provide the facilities to the maximum number of patients.
Another factor behind the low case fatality rate of India is that the pandemic here might still be in its early stages. The third, and considered to be the most dangerous stage of this virus infection - the community transmission stage is still not witnessed by most of the states. India is believed to be in the early stage of the pandemic infection. Seeing the current scenario, even if the situation gets worse and even if the third stage transmission begins in the country, we might be well equipped and prepared for what is to come due to the initial head start of less number of cases.
People being well aware and cautious about the current scenario can also be a major factor behind altering the fatality rate of the country. Proper laws and measures were no doubt imposed before time in the country but the acknowledgement with which they were adopted and followed by the citizens should be considered as the major role in reducing the rate of transmission and fatality in the country. Adoption of social distancing, lockdown rules, and even timely testing are some measures that contributed to improving and strengthening the stability of the country during the time of this worldwide pandemic.