COVID-19 India's challenges

While India is getting weary of restrictions due to coronavirus threat, the numbers this morning suggest that the COVID-19 challenges remain for India. Although many voices have called for India to ease off measures put in place to control the spread, the numbers suggest India must keep a watchful eye of caution on the possible second wave of infection.

The reason is India posits the biggest anomaly when it comes to true number of COVID-19 infections and deaths. There have been open debates on television channels of certain states fudging the numbers and treating deaths as not COVID-19, if the patient had any other symptoms. In the state of west Bengal alone, there have been allegations of recording only 18 deaths instead of 57.

One of the biggest COVID-19 challenges for India is its health infrastructure as pointed out by Bharat Times earlier. It was only proven this morning when reports came out that doctors posted in Delhi’s shelter homes, quarantine centres and government dispensaries say they have no medicines, infrastructure or even basic equipment to treat patients.

There are 259 shelter homes for the homeless in Delhi. Another 256 school buildings have also been converted into shelters for migrant workers. Although these facilities can house between 300 and 600 persons, the equipment and infrastructure remains a challenge which in turn results in poor diagnosis, treatment and recording of data.

“On Friday, a man living in a shelter home complained of severe pain in his lower abdomen. A few hours later, he started vomiting blood. Such a patient requires a hospital set-up for treatment and I did not even have the equipment needed to conduct his physical examination,” a doctor deployed at a shelter home in west Delhi, was reported as saying in a report in Hindustan Times.

Citing another case, the paper spoke about a 50-year-old migrant worker who died at a Delhi government-run temporary shelter home in Chabi Ganj, Mori Gate.

“Officials said that though the man had no signs of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), he was unwell. The lack of medical supplies at the shelter home had prompted him to seek treatment from the Aruna Asaf Ali hospital last weekend. He died a few days later.”

It is possible the true diagnosis is either fudged or not recorded which in turn accentuates India’s COVID-19 challenges.

Despite such practices, India has recorded world’s biggest increases in infection and death rates since 30 March. There has been an increase of 2623% in infections (from 1024 to 27,890) and of 3166% in deaths (from 27 to 882) since 30 March. (See table)

COVID-19 Increases – Infections and Deaths between 30 March – 27 April (Bharat Times, Melbnourne)
Country Infections
Since 30 March
Since 30 March
India 1024 27890 27 882 26866 (2623%) 855 (3166%)
US 139675 964937 2436 54841 825262 (590%) 52405 (2151%)
UK 19780 154037 1231 20794 134257 (678%) 19563 (1589%)
Germany 62095 157770 525 5976 95675 (154%) 5451 (1038%)
France 40704 162220 2609 22890 121516 (298%) 20281 (777%)
Netherlands 10930 38040 772 4491 27110 (248%) 3719 (481%)
Switzerland 14829 29061 300 1610 14232 (95%) 1310 (436%)
Australia 3980 6714 16 83 2734 (68%) 67 (418%)
Spain 80031 226629 6802 23190 146598 (183%) 16388 (240%)
Italy 97689 197675 10779 26644 99986 (102%) 15865 (147%)
Iran 38309 90481 2640 5710 52172 (136%) 3070 (116%)
China 82122 83909 3304 4636 1787 (0.02%) 1332 (0.40%)
Source: COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for CSSE at JHU, US. Countries listed as per death rate since March 30

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