Millions of COVID-19 infections may have got under the radar in India earlier this year, a research paper published in a medical journal estimates.
For every confirmed case in the month of May, when the caseload was just starting to pile, there were 82-103 confirmed cases that were missed, government doctors and scientists write in the paper published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research.
As opposed to the official health ministry data which reflected 180,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in May, the research estimates, in the same time-frame, there were already 6.5 million cases.
At present there are 4.56 million confirmed case as per Johns Hopkins tally and Indian is testing over 1 million sample daily since the last month.
Since the pandemic began, India’s COVID-19 cases remained an abnormal low with very few recorded cases.
The Narendra Modi-led government was quick to impose a national lockdown which the government emphasized as the reason for low caseloads and fatalities.
Many experts pointed out India’s low COVID-19 count at a time when other nations, despite much lesser population and strict lockdown and restrictions in place were reporting a much higher number of cases, was because of low testing.
Researchers in the paper says the scope of testing in India during May was limited to symptomatic cases, which could be one reason why many potential cases might have got under the count. Also, different states in the nation have different rates of testing.
The researchers compared two different data to determine the range of infections.
First, the confirmed COVID-19 cases on May 3 and May 11 were taken into account and were compared with the number of people who exhibited COVID-19 antibodies during a nationwide survey conducted in May and early June.
Comparing the two data enabled the researchers to follow up on individuals who were confirmed of COVID-19 in the May 3-11 time frame and compare their impact in the May-June survey.
It was found, the overall ratio of people who were infected against the number of confirmed cases was increased between 82 and 130, Reuters reported.
The research paper reaffirms the findings of previous surveys conducted in larger cities like Mumbai, Pune, and Delhi which tipped a much higher number of people carrying the infection than the official records.
India reported a record-setting 96.5k new infection in the last 24-hours, along with a record-setting number of deaths in a single day on Friday.