Empire Diaries Desk
April 25, 2020, New Delhi: It’s been 5 months now since the first #coronavirus case was detected in #Wuhan, China on November 17, 2019. And it’s been a little over a month since India began a nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of #Covid19.
India has so far officially reported close to 25,000 cases and the number of deaths from the outbreak is yet to reach 800.
NUMBERS IMPRESSIVE, BUT ONLY ON PAPER?
On paper, it looks pretty impressive, as the Indian health administration has done a decent job in containing the spread of the deadly virus. Especially when compared with countries the US, Spain, Italy, UK, France, China, Germany, Iran, Russia, and a few others who are struggling to tackle the #pandemic.
But that’s just in paper. In reality, India has been potentially been far more badly hit by the contagion than we are officially getting to know.
How do we gauge that? Well, there’s a simple way of knowing it: just have a good look at the number of #Covid tests that India has carried out to determine cases and deaths.
HOW WORST-HIT NATIONS ARE TESTING
Before we study India’s testing numbers, let’s have a close at the testing numbers in the most badly affected nations.
Take the US, for example, which is the worst-hit nation with over 900,000 confirmed infections and more than 51,000 confirmed deaths. In the US, the testing rate is considered quite commendable at this stage. 14,892 people are getting tested for every 1 million persons or 10 lakh individuals.
Spain, which has over 220,000 cases and over 22,500 deaths, has a testing ratio of 19,896 people per 1 million persons.
Italy, also one of the worst-hit countries, has nearly 200,000 infections and more than 26,000 fatalities. Over there, 27,164 people are tested for every 1 million individuals.
All these countries cited above basically are doing the commendable job of testing as many people as possible to determine a true picture of the damage done.
Several other national governments are doing a good job on the testing front, such as Germany (24,738 tested per 1 million), Switzerland (27,182), Portugal (30,967), Ireland (22,598), and so on.
INDIA’S DISTURBING TESTING RATIO
Now, let’s come to India. Let’s have a look at the testing numbers of the country which considered high-risk due to high population density.
Incredible as it may sound, amid all the talk of successfully keeping the virus under control (as portrayed by government officials and the corporate media), India is testing only 393 people per 1 million persons.
No wonder the reported outbreak numbers are so incredibly low in the country. If you don’t test enough people across the country, you obviously won’t get a high (or actual) number of cases and deaths to report. It’s a no-brainer!
India is already the 16th most-affected nation in the world and is steadily climbing up that disturbing list. Yet, when other countries are testing about 20,000 people on average per 1 million, India is testing shockingly less than 400/million!
Imagine if India tests at a much higher ratio which is close to the ones of say Italy or US. You never know where India’s actual cases and deaths would stand then: they might be staggeringly higher than many other highly affected countries.
ARE WE LIVING IN A FOOL’S PARADISE?
Perhaps the Indian administration is really doing its best, and the ratio of 393/million is its best effort. In that case, we would be living in a fool’s paradise to assume that – “Ah! Our deaths and infections are so much lower than in many other countries. So, maybe we are safe!”
Let’s not live in a wonderland. Closing your eyes does not make the crisis disappear. The sooner we test more people and discover the actual damage done by the coronavirus, the better it is for us. If we know where we really stand, maybe we can tackle the catastrophe better.