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Covid-19 Ravages India and It's Far Worse Than Reported

The Covid-19 situation in India is a travesty. Let's discuss what's happening and how we know it's far worse than reported.
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Covid-19 2021-05-15

Recent Stats

  • Reuters: In the past 24 hours, India added 326,098 new infections, taking its tally to 24.37 million, with 3,890 deaths, for a toll of 266,207, health ministry data shows. But the slow growth may also reflect test rates that are at their lowest since May 9.
  • During the past week, the south Asian nation has added about 1.7 million new cases and more than 20,000 deaths in a second wave of infections that has overwhelmed hospitals and medical staff.
  • Randeep Guleria, director of AIIMS Hospital in Delhi warned that secondary infections like mucormycosis or “black fungus” were adding to India’s mortality
  • Police are patrolling the banks of the Ganges in India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh to stop any dumping of corpses in the river, a government official said.
  • Bloomberg: Covid Kills Over 1,000 Bank Employees as Virus Ravages India.
  • With more than 24 million people sickened in India and over 266,200 dead amid the world’s fastest-growing outbreak, bulk of Indian states are in a lockdown with strict stay-at-home orders.
  • C.H. Venkatachalam, general secretary of the All India Bank Employees Association -- the largest body of bank workers -- told the website that 1,200 employees had died due to the virus. “Not all banks are forthcoming in sharing the details and compensation policies for the families of those who died due to this virus,” Venkatachalam said.
  • India, which is facing a severe vaccine shortage, has administered more than 180 million Covid shots so far. At this rate, it will take a projected 2.5 years to cover 75% of the population with a two-dose vaccine, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker

There was a report that nearly 2,000 bodies had been pulled from the river in the past week but the government denies the report.

Far Worse Than Reported

The stats seem grim and they are, but it's far worse than reported.

Q: How do we know this?
A: Look at the lead chart, then think.

India has a population of 1.39 billion vs the US at 333 million.

Think about sanitary conditions in India. Think about population density in cities. Think about the caste system. 

Look at the tests per population in India vs the US. Think about the vaccination rate. 

India Math 

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If the death rate in India was the same as the US, we can run the following calculation:

X / 1,391,753,332 = 559,313 / 332,685,557

X = 2,339,324

India reports 266,229 deaths. 

If India had the same number of deaths per population as the US, then it would have over 2.3 million deaths.

Death Rate

Q: Is it reasonable to assume India has a death rate as low or lower than the US?
A: No, not even close 

It's hard to know what the correct factor might be, but given sanitary conditions, density, lack of testing, etc.,  somewhere between 2X and 10X is a reasonable idea.

That would put the Covid-19 deaths in India between 4.6 million and 23 million vs the reported 266 thousand.