The survey was conducted from mid-August to mid-September.
Of the country’s 1.3 billion citizens, more than 966 million are aged ten or above, according to the government’s most recent census in 2011.
If one in 15 people of this group have been infected with COVID-19, that’s a total of 63.78 million people.
The survey suggests that for one infection officially reported, there are actually 26 to 32 people infected who slip through the cracks, Dr Balram Bhargava said, director of the medical council said.
There are numerous reasons for this: people simply aren’t getting tested enough.
There are sometimes errors in reporting and registering cases.
Changing government strategies can muddle the numbers and paint a misleading picture of the situation.
The government began rolling back restrictions in May after a months-long lockdown, with ministers turning their attention to reopening the economy and public services.
But experts, including Dr Bhargava, warn that it’s too soon to relax.
Slum residents had a seroprevalence – meaning they carried antibodies – of 15.6 per cent, almost double the 8.2 per cent detected in residents of non-slum urban areas.
The figure drops in rural areas to 4.4 per cent, according to the survey.
The festival, which this year falls on November 14, is one of India’s biggest annual holidays, Dr Bhargava said.
“In light of the upcoming festivities, in light of the winter season and mass gathering, containment strategies must be implemented by the states and the use of masks cannot be underlined more than after this seroprevalence survey,” he warned.
“That is very, very essential.”
The numbers don’t show the full picture
Ramanan Laxminarayan, a senior research scholar at Princeton University, predicted that the country may be undercounting infections by a factor of 50 to 100 – meaning the “true” number could be upwards of 100 million.
One simple reason behind the discrepancy is insufficient testing.
Only about 82 of every 100,000 people in India are being tested per day, according to Johns Hopkins University – compared to about 284 in the US and 329 in the United Kingdom.
“All the other countries test two times, three times, 10 times what India is testing,” community medicine specialist Dr Hemant Shewade told CNN earlier this month.
Meanwhile, India’s mortality rate of 1.6 per cent looks much lower than other countries – compared to 2.9 per cent in the US, 9.5 per cent in the UK, and 11.5 per cent in Italy, according to Johns Hopkins University.
But coronavirus deaths, too, are likely being undercounted.
And only 22 per cent of all registered deaths get an official cause of death, certified by a doctor, Dr Shewade said.
Source: 9News | News Colony