COVID-19 in India: fact-check, and looking beyond headlines

Here is a look beyond a topics making headlines and a few facts. 

Headline : "India is struggling to vaccinate its people against COVID-19" 

India is indeed struggling to vaccinating a nation of 1.3 billion... but think of the scale and success thus far

  • As of mid-May 2021, India has already vaccinated 16 crore (160 million) people till date. Let this number sink in for a moment..
  • That's entire population of Russia and half the population of USA, 2.5 times of UK. 7 times Australia and 34 times New Zealand.

Headline : Bodies are seen floating in Ganga, Yamuna

Ganga and Yamuna have historically been among the most polluted rivers in the world. Manmade pollution includes bodies and human remains from scores of burning ghats along the river banks.  As per this article "Old Photos of Dead Bodies Floating in Ganga Passed Off as Recent"

Headline "I Believe One Million Indians Have Already Died of COVID" , Says Mathematician Murad Banaji" (The Wire) 

According to 2019, there were about 7.23 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants in India. 

  • With a population of about 1,300,000,000 it would have been around 9,399,000 deaths in 2019. These are Pre-COVID19 numbers
  • If Murad Banaji is right, the number of deaths in India will be over 10,399,000 in 2021

Headline: Indian Government is grossly under-reporting the cases and numbers

Reporting COVID-19 cases, recoveries and even deaths is not a precise science. Almost every country struggled with this issue

Middle and upper class Indians that talk about flailing health of government hospitals refrain from patronizing government hospitals. 

  • According to Wikipedia, "India has a universal multi-payer health care model that is paid for by a combination of public and private health insurances along with the element of almost entirely tax-funded public hospitals. The public hospital system is essentially free for all Indian residents except for small, often symbolic co-payments in some services." 
  • How clean are our hospitals? - The Hindu Aug 18, 2015


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