'Lockdown, early detection-causes of low fatality rate'

Timely lockdown, early detection and management of cases reasons for low COVID-19 fatality rate in India: Govt

Italy, France, Sweden, US, Canada, Brazil and Germany have 54.3, 42.3, 39.3, 29.3, 17.2, 10.5 and 10.0 deaths per lakh population respectively. (Credit: PTI Photo)

The COVID-19 fatality rate in India is among the lowest in the world at 2.87 per cent, the government said on Tuesday, attributing the timely lockdown, early detection and management of coronavirus infection cases as the main reasons for the low death toll.

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From 3.38 per cent in April,  the fatality rate in the country has come down to 2.87 per cent as against 6.4 per cent globally.

The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 4,167 and the number of cases climbed to 1, 45,380 in the country registering an increase of 146 deaths and 6,535 cases in a 24-hour span till Tuesday 8 AM, according to the Union health ministry.  

Responding to a question at a press briefing on why the country's death rate is one of the lowest in the word, ICMR DG Balram Bhargava said there is no substantiative factor behind it.

"We have surprisingly found a low fatality rate in India and which is a very good thing. Ultimately we are interested in a patient surviving whether he gets COVID-19 or not. 

Also Read: Coronavirus India update: State-wise total number of confirmed cases, deaths

"There are several hypothesis such as we are living in bad hygiene, have higher immunity and have been given certain vaccines like BCG and those for tuberculosis, but these all are hypothesis and we cannot say anything clearly on any factor. So long as the fatality rate is low it a good thing and I hope it continues," he said.

Joint secretary Lav Agarwal, however, said that the country's graded response to COVID-19 and timely identification of cases along with their clinical management played a major role in keeping the death rate low.

One of the main components of an infectious diseases is early identification, he said.

"We had started screening of passengers and activated our healthcare workers even 13 days before the WHO declared it a public health emergency of international concern. If cases are detected on time they do not turn serious and to the extent automatically the fatality rate will be low," he said.

France has a fatality rate of 19.9 per cent followed by Belgium at 16.3, Italy at 14.3, UK at 14.2, Spain 12.2, Sweden 11.9, Canada 7.6, Brazil 6.3, the US at 6.0, China 5.5 and Germany at 4.6 per cent.  

India has 0.3 deaths per lakh population as against the 4.5 deaths globally, which is among the lowest in the world. This has been due to lockdown, timely identification and management of COVID-19 cases, Aggarwal said.

Referring to the WHO Situation Report 126 dated May 25, he said Belgium has 81.2 death per lakh population while Spain has 61.5 deaths per population and UK has reported 55.3 deaths per lakh population.

Italy, France, Sweden, US, Canada, Brazil and Germany have 54.3, 42.3, 39.3, 29.3, 17.2, 10.5 and 10.0 deaths per lakh population respectively. 

Aggarwal further said that while Belgium has reported 800.72 deaths per million, Spain, Italy , UK, France, US and Russia have reported 614.95, 542.24, 541.98, 434.59, 295.22 and 24.96 deaths per million respectively.

"India has reported only 3.08 deaths per million. Further, the trajectory is relatively flat, there is no spike in the curve," Aggarwal said showing a graph to present global perspective: death per million population (as per European CDC situation update dated May 25).

The recovery rate has improved from 7.1 per cent in March when the lockdown was initiated to 11.42 per cent during the second phase and 26.59 per cent in the third phase to 41.61 per cent now.

The fatality rate remained the lowest in the world at 2.87 per cent now.

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