COVID-19 cases rise, but fatalities low: Centre

Coronavirus cases rise, but fatalities low in India: Centre

Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry (PTI)

India is witnessing fewer deaths due to COVID-19 when compared with the rest of the world, which the government claims is a testimony to its strategy of early identification of patients and effective clinical management.

“Our fatality rate is one of the lowest – 2.87% as against the global average for case fatality which is around 6.45%. It was 3.3% on April 15 and has now reduced to 2.87%,” Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry, told reporters.

The statement came on a day India witnessed an increase of 6,535 new infections, taking the total number of confirmed cases to over 1,45,380. The death toll rose by 146 to 4,167, the health ministry said.

According to a separate DH Covid-19 Tracker, the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in India had risen to over 1,50,000 and the death toll at 4,335 on Tuesday.

India’s top health research scientist refused to hazard a guess on the reasons for the low fatality rate.

“We have surprisingly found a low fatality rate in India and that is good because ultimately we are interested in the patient surviving. There were several hypotheses that we were living in bad hygiene, we have higher immunity, we have been given certain injections in the past for tuberculosis, BCG. But, these are all hypotheses. We cannot say clearly on any of these factors, but so long as the fatality rate is low, we should be happy,” Balram Bhargava, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research said.

However, Agarwal was quick to add that the fatalities were low on account of the government strategy of early identification of the patients and strict clinical management protocols that were being followed.

He said an analysis of case mortality per lakh population indicated that India has about 0.3 deaths per lakh population which is among the lowest in the world against the statistics of 4.4 deaths per lakh population for the world.

“The relatively low death figures, both in terms of mortality per lakh population and case fatality rate, represent timely case identification and clinical management of the cases,” Agarwal said.

Health Secretary Preeti Sudan on Tuesday reached out to five states – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand Chhatisgarh and Madhya Pradesh which have witnessed a surge in cases over the past three weeks after easing of the lockdown and inter-state movement of people.

The health secretaries and senior officials of the five states were asked to follow strict containment measures, perimeter controls, door-to-door surveillance, active contact tracing and testing to combat the spread of the virus.

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