More than 390,000 coronavirus deaths have been officially reported in India, but families who have lost loved ones, health experts, and statisticians think this figure grossly underestimates the real toll. The undercount in India has also created a major gap in the world's understanding of the Delta variant's impact, which health experts think contributed to one of the world's worst COVID-19 surges in April and May.
The country was the first to discover the extremely contagious variant, which has now spread worldwide. According to Christopher Murray, head of the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a precise count of infection and death is the crucial element of determining how great a threat new variants entail.
COVID-19 infections surge amid Delta variant concerns
Official statistics indicated that India's COVID-19 infections increased by 50,040 on Sunday, as fears mounted over the detection of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus in several regions. In India, where more than half of the population has not been vaccinated, the new variants are a major concern. Only about 6% of India's 950 million adult population has received two doses, as per Reuters via MSN.
According to the Health Ministry, at least 20 cases have been linked to the Delta variation, which India identified as a variant of concern last week. The official death toll in India is currently 395,751, but experts and international health organizations like the World Health Organization believe the figure is likely to rise significantly. Of the 35.51 million infected citizens, 29.25 million individuals have recovered.
State governments relaxed lockdown restrictions earlier this month when there was a downtrend in cases. However, experts are concerned that the existence of the Delta variant, which was originally discovered in India, and the sluggish rate of vaccination might result in another wave of illnesses.
India's government accused of covering up Delta variant impact
Murad Banaji, a mathematician at Middlesex University, believes the country's real death toll is likely to be five times higher than the official total. Poor recordkeeping and lack of extensive testing were among the reasons that were cited to explain why there seemed to be a failure in obtaining a comprehensive report on the total number of infections in India, according to more than a dozen experts.
Experts said the undercounting might be caused by insufficient testing, overburdened facilities, and a lack of healthcare access in rural areas of the country, Daily Mail reported. This might indicate that many COVID-19 deaths may have occurred at home, particularly in rural areas, thus resulting in miscounting. According to some experts, families are hesitant to admit that their loved ones died of the virus.
In India, the system for keeping death records is equally inaccurate, with just four out of every five deaths being medically evaluated prior to the outbreak. According to a WHO report released last month, the worldwide death toll might be two or three times greater than what was previously recorded. The Indian government has been compelled to deny that COVID-19 deaths are underreported widely.
The government does not intend to change its death toll, according to a top official. More than 30 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the country, with 579,937 cases currently active.
Children in India face rare infection after recovering from COVID-19
Per BBC, India is now facing a rise in cases of multi-system inflammatory syndrome, an uncommon inflammatory and possibly life-threatening disease (MIS-C). After children and teens have recovered from COVID-19, this condition generally arises four or six weeks later.
Two of the ill children have recovered at Kasturba Hospital, while the other two are being treated in intensive care. Pediatricians throughout India are reporting increasing cases of this rare but severe illness as the devastating second wave of the coronavirus subsides.
It's unclear how many children have been impacted thus far because physicians are still reporting instances. According to doctors, the disease is caused by an extremely defensive immune reaction to the virus, which can result in organ inflammation.
At first, symptoms such as high and prolonged fever, rash, red eyes, swollen lymph nodes, stomach pain, low blood pressure, body soreness, and tiredness might be mistaken for those of other conditions. Some of the symptoms are similar to those of Kawasaki disease, a rare disease that primarily affects children under the age of five.
According to Dr. Jhuma Sankar, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the syndrome is truly a spectrum of diseases ranging from mild Kawasaki-like disease to multi-organ failure.