Low number of Corona testing dilute the actual picture of infections in India

The new COVID infections in India have zoomed past 6 lakh cases in the last 7 days. This may not come as a shocker as each day of the week witnessed single-day spikes breaking the records every 24 hours with the exception of Sept 8 and 9, where the figures dropped below 90,000 cases.

The country saw a very high national average for the last 7 days hovering around 90, 972 new cases taking the new caseload tally to 6,36,805 of new infections till Sept 12.

Sept 6 – 90,632

Sept 7 – 90,802

Sept 8 – 75,809

Sept 9 – 89,706

Sept 10 – 95,735

Sept 11 – 96,551

Sept 12 – 97,570

Total cases in last 7 days – 6,36,805

Last 7 days avg – 90,972

The news is especially worrying as the new Sero-Survey results from the apex biomedical research body ICMR had pegged the figure of 6.4 million infection cases in the month of May. The large number of exposure numbers hints to the large numbers of unreported or unrecorded cases of novel coronavirus cases. The figures compares with the official tally of 85,856 as on 15 May, indicating that millions of sick people were left undiagnosed and may have unknowingly spread the virus.

Another worrying fact, bursting the bubble of the authorities,  was the findings that showed infection reach in the rural areas of the country.

According to the report, the seropositivity rate (or the number of people exposed to SARS-CoV-2 by mid-May) was highest in rural areas at 69.4 percent, 15.9 percent in urban slums, and 14.6 percent in urban non-slums areas.

This means for every COVID case that was detected in May, there were 82-130 infections that went undiagnosed, according to the study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research.

While the report painted a gloomy picture, another piece of news, on the other hand, was more worrying. The plasma therapy which was pegged as one of the most successful course of treatment in the country was found to be ineffective.

The news however did not stop Delhi Health Minister, Satyendar Jain, who gave a green light to this therapy. The Covid-19 patients in the capital will continue to be treated with blood plasma donated by the recovered patients of coronavirus.

A bright side

While we still wait for the new caseloads to plateau, animal trials of Bharat Biotech International Limited’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate, Covaxin, have been successful and the results showed the shot’s “remarkable immunogenicity and protective efficacy” in the Phase I clinical trials in India.

This was especially a welcome breather as Serum Institute of India (SII) paused clinical trials of AstraZeneca Oxford COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the US until further orders. The trials were halted after one of the candidates developed complications after the inoculation.

The only saving grace has been the recovery rate. In India the recovery rate stands high at 77.65 percent, according to the health ministry data while the fatality rate hovers at 1.65 percent, much lower than the global average of 3 percent. The Health Ministry has said the constant increase in recoveries ensured that the actual caseload of the country is reduced and currently comprises only 20.68 percent of the total positive cases. The number of recovered patients has overtaken the active cases by nearly 3.8 times. An unprecedented surge in COVID recoveries with more than 100 percent increase in patients recovered and discharged in the past 29 days has also been reported.

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