COVID-19 cases in India surge past 1.5mn, deaths near 35,000

COVID-19 cases in India surge past 1.5mn, deaths near 35,000

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New Delhi: The COVID-19 situation in India continues to deteriorate as the country broke the 1.5 million case mark on Wednesday and the death toll is close to 35,000, raising some doubts about the official coronavirus data.

Even as case numbers soar and more areas impose lockdowns, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this week India was in a “better position that other countries”, and winning international praise.

The Ministry of Health website-due to the government’s greater emphasis on recovery and no longer including all infections-reported nearly 50,000 new infections and 768 deaths on Wednesday.

This South Asian giant is home to some of the most crowded cities in the world, and its per capita health care expenditure is one of the lowest in the world, passing 1 million cases just 12 days ago.

However, many experts say that India has not tested enough people, so many coronavirus-related deaths have not been recorded.

A study released on Tuesday tested antibodies to the coronavirus, which reported that about 57% of people in the bustling slums of Mumbai were infected with the virus-far exceeding the level indicated by official data.

Ullas S. Kolthur of the Tata School of Basic Research participated in the survey and said he was surprised by the results.

“At least in the slums, we think it is largely because social distancing wouldn’t work simply because of the population density,” Kolthur told AFP.

A similar study last week showed that nearly a quarter of people in the capital New Delhi were infected with the virus, almost 40 times the official total.

However, since other coronaviruses (not only the new COVID-19) may also produce antibodies that may produce false positive results, the accuracy of such tests is also questioned.

The Mumbai survey also covered a relatively small sample of approximately 7,000 people.

India is currently the third largest case in the world, after the United States and Brazil, although the official death toll in South Asian countries is much lower.

According to statistics from Agence France-Presse, India’s proportion of the population is also lagging behind, with only 1,110 cases per million people, compared with 13,148 cases in the United States.

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