Coronavirus | Two in five COVID-19 patients have recovered, says Health Ministry

Residents watch as health officials navigate a coronavirus-themed robot that sprays disinfectant at a residential area in Chennai on May 20, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AFP

After a gap of nine days, the Union Health Ministry held its daily press briefing on COVID-19 on May 20, along with officials of the India Meteorological Department and the National Disaster Response Force, who were briefing on the progress of Cyclone Amphan.

On May 20, when India recorded a new daily high of cases, 5,614, and 140 deaths, Lav Agrawal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said India’s recovery rate — the number of confirmed patients who had been cured or discharged as a proportion of total cases — had climbed to 40%. On May 4, when Lockdown 3.0 commenced, India’s recovery rate was 26.59% and on April 15, when Lockdown 2.0 began, it was 11.42%.

For a pandemic to be under control, those who recover every day must consistently be more than those freshly diagnosed daily.

However, India is among 11 countries that has over a 1,00,000 cases, but has fewer deaths — 3,316 — and only behind Russia’s 2,972. Only 2.94% of Indians confirmed positive are on oxygen support, 3% in Intensive Care Units and 0.45% on ventilator support, Mr. Agrawal said.

However, this assessment belies the high variability of case loads and fatality rates within India. Just four States — Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Delhi — account for 70% of India’s case load and 64% of fatalities. The recovery rate of Maharashtra is only 26%, and Gujarat, with 719 deaths, has a case fatality rate (deaths per confirmed cases) of 6%, which is nearly twice that of India’s overall case fatality rate of 3.1%.

On May 20, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) resumed its practice of disclosing the number of samples tested per day. This amounted to 1,08,121, and on the whole, its laboratories have tested 25,12,388 samples since the pandemic started.

Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India | State-wise tracker for coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates

In absolute numbers, India may have conducted a large number of tests, but as a proportion of its population it is among the world’s stingiest testers.

For instance, Russia which has over 3,00,000 cases and fewer deaths than India has tested 52,000 per million; the United States 38,000 per million and Spain 64,000 per million. India has already conducted 1,800 tests per million despite having a population higher than these countries.

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Mr. Agrawal sought to highlight India’s low relative fatality and low case load, compared with other countries with over a 1,00,000 cases. In this league of 11 countries, India has only tested more than Iran, Brazil and Turkey.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 9:22:17 AM |

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