Coronavirus by numbers: India is not doing badly at all
A close look at global data gives a clear picture of where the country stands as the pandemic shows no signs of easing
There has been a lot of discussion lately about countries making efforts to flatten the curve when it comes to the number of cases of coronavirus. Comparisons have also been made between the number of cases, and the fatalities, across different countries.
India has come under particular scrutiny, mostly due to its large population of 1.3 billion-plus and the possible impact on the country’s healthcare infrastructure in case of a large outbreak.
Numbers - not always based on India-specific mathematical models - are being bandied about by several experts to argue that the country could be just days away from an explosion of new cases.
IndiavsDisinformation looks at some hard numbers to figure out where the country stands when compared to the rest of the world, particularly the worst-affected nations.
Do Numbers Tell The Complete Story?
Numbers do not tell the entire story unless you also take into account the total number of people living in a country. In other words, X number of cases in a country with a population of, say, 10,000 should be more worrying than the same, X, number of cases in another country with 100,000 people. It is the same case when it comes to understanding the number of deaths due to the coronavirus infection.
Where India Stands In Terms Of Confirmed Cases
According to the Coronavirus Resource Center of the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, these are the confirmed cases of coronavirus in 10 countries, including India, as of today:
- United States - 429,052
- Spain - 148,220
- Italy - 139,422
- France - 113,959
- Germany - 113,296
- China - 82,809
- Iran - 64,586
- United Kingdom - 61,474
- Turkey - 38,226
- India - 5,916
If we factor in the population of these countries (as per the United Nations World Population Prospects, 2019), in millions, this is what it translates to, in number of cases per million population:
- United States - 1,303
- Spain - 3,171
- Italy - 2,302
- France - 1,749
- Germany - 1,356
- China - 57.8
- Iran - 778
- United Kingdom - 910
- Turkey - 458
- India - 4.33
At 4.33, India has a very low number of confirmed cases per million population.
Where India Stands In Terms Of Deaths
Let us again look at data from the Coronavirus Resource Center of the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine. This is the number of deaths, by country:
- United States - 14,695
- Spain - 14,792
- Italy - 17,669
- France - 10,887
- Germany - 2,349
- China - 3,337
- Iran - 3,993
- United Kingdom - 7,111
- Turkey - 812
- India - 178
If we factor in the population of these countries (as per United Nations World Population Prospects, 2019), in millions, this is what it translates to, in number of deaths per million population:
- United States - 44.66
- Spain - 316.49
- Italy - 291.81
- France - 167.16
- Germany - 28.13
- China - 2.33
- Iran - 48.16
- United Kingdom - 105.30
- Turkey - 9.73
- India - 0.13
At 0.13, India has a very low number of deaths per million population.
Case-Fatality Percentage, by Country
The Coronavirus Resource Center of the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine has a third set of data that takes a look at yet another dimension of the havoc that the Covid-19 pandemic is causing in countries around the world.
Here is the case-fatality percentage, by country:
- United States - 3.4%
- Spain - 10%
- Italy - 12.7%
- France - 9.6%
- Germany - 2.1%
- China - 4%
- Iran - 6.2%
- United Kingdom - 11.6%
- Turkey - 2.1%
- India - 3%
Even here, India (3%) is doing much better than countries like the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, and Iran.
Multiple factors would have contributed to India’s impressive coronavirus numbers. Early travel restrictions and the countrywide lockdown seem to be among them.
Travel Restrictions and Screening
India began putting in place advisories and restrictions on travel in a phased manner from end-January 2019, beginning with travel from and to China. This was before most other countries even began discussing such steps.
Passengers arriving from the affected countries were screened at 30 airports across India. Those returning from China were quarantined at a facility in Delhi; many other quarantine facilities soon came up in other parts of the country for passengers returning from other coronavirus-affected countries.
Locking down Coronavirus hotspots
On March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day countrywide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus as the pandemic continued to wreak havoc around the world. There has been strict enforcement of the lockdown across the country after some initial hiccups.
States like Rajasthan and Odisha imposed a complete lockdown in hotspots that reported a large number of confirmed cases. On April 8, the governments of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh followed suit by announcing a list of similar hotspots to contain the infection within a specified geographical boundary.