Tracking COVID-19 deaths in India and around the world as coronavirus toll crosses 1 million

According to Johns Hopkins University, the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico account for more than 50 percent of the deaths worldwide

FP Staff September 30, 2020 17:51:19 IST
Tracking COVID-19 deaths in India and around the world as coronavirus toll crosses 1 million

Representational Image. PTI

The total number of COVID-19 deaths globally crossed the grim milestone of one million on Tuesday with the United States accounting for most of the fatalities.

The United States, where the virus has killed about 205,000 people, accounts for 1 out of 5 deaths worldwide, far more than any other country despite its wealth and medical resources.

Brazil has recorded the second most deaths after the US, with about 142,000. India's toll, the third-highest in the world, is now inching closer to 1 lakh, with the country accounting for 9.57 percent of the total deaths globally.

Mexico has recorded the fourth-highest number of fatalities with more than 76,000 people dead.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico account for more than 50 percent of the deaths worldwide.

India's current COVID-19 tally 

The Union health ministry reported 70,589 new infections in the past 24 hours, taking the cumulative figure to 61,45, 291. At least 776 deaths were recorded in the same period with total fatalities climbing up to 96,318 on Tuesday, PTI reported.

At present COVID-19 cases in India are growing at the fastest pace in the world while in terms of testing the country ranks at 10th position among 15 nations reporting the maximum infections.

The second-most populous country may become the worst COVID-affected nation in coming weeks, surpassing the US, where more than 71.49 lakh infections have been reported.

Total 96,318 deaths reported so far in the country include 35,751 from Maharashtra followed by 9,383 from Tamil Nadu, 8,641 from Karnataka, 5,745 from Andhra Pradesh, 5,652 from Uttar Pradesh, 5,272 from Delhi, 4,837 from West Bengal, 3,428 from Gujarat, 3,284 from Punjab and 2,242 from Madhya Pradesh.

The health ministry stressed that more than 70 percent of the deaths occurred due to co-morbidities.

India's low CFR an illusion?

With fatality rate at 1.56 percent, the Indian government claims to have dealt with the pandemic better than others. The findings highlight India's large young population, who are less likely to die of COVID-19 .

In a new study published by the US National Bureau of Economic Research, economists Minu Philip and Debraj Ray, and researcher S Subramanian have found India fares much worse than other countries if the fatality rate is adjusted for age variations.

To adjust for age variations, the authors assume that India has similar age-wise case fatality rates as in other comparable countries.

After estimating India's age-adjusted case fatality rates (CFR) based on data from 14 other countries, the model found that the evaluations for India would be lower in most age groups than it actually is.

"Among adult groups and relative to the comparison countries, India stands out in having a large impact ratio for all but the oldest ages. These relatively young and middle-age groups are not only those excessively represented in overall population, they are also disproportionately more affected by COVID-19 ," they wrote.

This shows that India's actual CFR — around 1.5 percent as per latest data — is too high rather than too low.

Crucial moments of pandemic in India

The first person to die due to COVID-19 in India on 12 March was a 76-year-old man from Kalburgi, Karnataka, with international travel history. Soon after, India banned the entry of foreigners and suspended all visas from 13 March to 15 April.

On 25 March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a complete lockdown across the country for 21 days, with only essential services kept out of its purview.

As of 29 April, there were over 1,000 COVID-19 deaths in the country. At least 1,008 people had lost their lives with total cases at 31,787.

When the Centre issued Unlock 1 guidelines, on 31 May, for the phased re-opening of all activities outside containment zones, India recorded more than 2,50,000 COVID-19 cases and 7,200 deaths.

By 12 June, India went past the United Kingdom in terms of coronavirus cases to become the fourth worst-hit country with a caseload of 2,97, 205, according to the Worldometer.

As per the Union health ministry data, the country had registered the highest single-day spike of 357 fatalities on that day, pushing the toll to 8,102.

In another month, India overtook Russia to become third-worst COVID-affected country with a caseload of 6.97 lakh infections. Only the US and Brazil were ahead of India in terms of total coronavirus infections.

Another big single-day jump of 24,248 COVID-19 cases took India's tally close to the seven-lakh mark on 6 July, while the toll due to the disease climbed to 19,693 with 425 new fatalities, according to the Union health ministry.

With the toll standing at 25,600 and overall tally crossing 10 lakh by 17 July, India decided to resume operations of International commercial flights.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said that India was planning to establish a bubble with the United Kingdom soon under which there would be two flights per day between Delhi and London.

An air bubble is a bilateral arrangement with a set of regulations and restrictions in which the carriers of the two countries can operate international flights.

Between 1 and 8 August, India had recorded 4,55,330 cases, the highest in the world. The US had recorded the second-highest infections in the same period (4,35,891).

On 23 August, India's COVID-19 tally hurtled past 30 lakh, just 16 days after it crossed 20 lakh, while with 912 new deaths, the toll reached 56,706.

Even though a recovery rate of 82.5 percent was attained in September, health experts have warned about the potential for the virus to spread during the upcoming religious festival season, which is marked by huge gatherings of people in temples and shopping districts.

Another potential risk is the Assembly election next month in Bihar, where about 72 million people will cast votes over three days.

On 27 September, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan stressed strict adherence to social distancing.

"We are far from having achieved any kind of herd immunity, which necessitates that all of us should continue following COVID-appropriate behaviour," tweeted Vardhan.

The analysis of mortality data by the Union health ministry also shows that a majority of deaths were among those above 50 years of age. It showed that 1 percent of those who succumbed to the viral infection were below 17 years; another 1 percent between 18 and 25 years; 11 percent deaths among 26-and 44-year-olds; and 36 percent among people in the 45 and 60 years age group.

People with comorbidities and elderly are at high risk, as almost 70 percent of those who die have one or more comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiac, renal or liver disease.

US ranks at top of global COVID-19 toll of over 1 mn 

Worldwide, the United States ranked at the top in the total number of reported global deaths and fifth per 100,000 people.

In less than nine months, the toll jumped from one coronavirus -related death — in Wuhan, China, on 9 January — to 1,006,379 on Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The US has been hit hard by the virus, with almost 72 lakh reported infections and more than 205,000 deaths.

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the US has risen for two weeks in a row in 27 of the country's 50 states, and the 316,000 recorded in the seven days ended 27 September was the highest in six weeks, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county data.

It began with devastation in the New York City area initially, followed by a summertime crisis in the Sun Belt. Now the coronavirus outbreak is heating up fast in smaller cities in the heartland, often in conservative corners of America where anti-mask sentiment runs high.

Elsewhere around the country, Florida's Republican governor lifted all restrictions on restaurants and other businesses Friday and all but set aside local mask ordinances in the political battleground state, in a move attacked by Democrats as hasty.

The US is averaging more than 40,000 new confirmed cases a day. While that number is dramatically lower than the peak of nearly 70,000 over the summer, the numbers are worrisome nonetheless. The nation's death toll eclipsed 200,000 this week, the highest in the world.

In Springfield, Missouri, hospitals are starting to fill up with COVID-19 patients and the city has seen a big spike in deaths over the past month.

On 26 March, the United States surpassed China and Italy in the total number of COVID-19 cases, becoming the world’s largest outbreak.

New York state reported more cases than any other country beginning 10 April at more than 161,800 confirmed cases, overtaking Spain, Italy, France and Germany.

A second wave in Europe?

Europe, hit hard by the first wave, is now facing another surge, with Paris, London and Madrid all forced to introduce controls to slow infections threatening to overload hospitals.

A million Madrid residents are under partial lockdown with the city and the surrounding region at the epicentre of Spain's second wave.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman urged citizens to keep to strict hygiene measures.

"The development of infection numbers is of great concern to us," Steffen Seibert said. "We can see from some of our European friends where that could lead."

A number of European countries have re-imposed lockdowns and other restrictions in their worst-affected regions, and there have been fresh appeals for people to wear face coverings and follow social distancing rules, BBC reported.

Mid-September saw a record rise in cases in most regions and the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned virus deaths could even double to two million without more global collective action.

Latin America

In Latin America, Brazil has the highest number of deaths, with more than 1,40,000 so far. It has also recorded more than 4.7 million cases, the third-highest in the world.

Newly confirmed cases in the region are also rising quickly in Argentina, which now has more than 700,000 infections.

Latin America and the Caribbean overall have 3,42,687 deaths from 9,256,274 cases.

18% surge in COVID-19 fatalities in Middle East 

In Asia, where the toll was lower than 100 deaths per day up until mid-April, fatalities have been steadily increasing. The continent has exceeded 1,000 deaths per day almost continually since 20 July and is approaching 1,500 (1,407 on average over the last two weeks).

India has been the worst hit, recording more than 96,000 deaths so far.

Fatalities are also increasing again in the Middle East (around 330 in the last two weeks, an increase of around 18 percent).

In the Middle East, Iran has been badly affected by the virus, and in the past week has confirmed its highest number of new cases since early June.

Neighbouring Iraq has seen a steady rise in cases.

With inputs from agencies

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