More disturbing still, India’s soaring official covid-19 count represents the tip of an iceberg. Because of low testing rates outside big cities, say epidemiologists, the actual caseload could be anything from ten to 30 times higher. A national serological survey conducted in December found 21% of Indians were carrying covid-19 antibodies, compared with an official tally which suggested that only about 1% of India’s people had been infected by that time. More recently, local journalists who have cross-checked hospital and funeral records against government numbers have found similar, gaping discrepancies across the country. One report revealed that in the second week of April, when authorities in Vadodara, a city in the state of Gujarat, announced seven covid-19 deaths, the count in two hospitals alone was more than 300. This suggests that India could be facing not 2,000 deaths a day, as the current official count shows, but something much higher.
Publication Date: 24 April 2021
Publication Site: The Economist