India’s cases, deaths spiking but per capita mortality rate low

COVID-19 virus. Image: FDA

Aug. 24 (UPI) — Eight months into the coronavirus pandemic, India is in a dichotomous situation with surging cases and deaths but a relatively low per capita mortality rate.

On Saturday, India surpassed the 3 million milestone of infections, setting a national daily record with 70,068, according to tracking by And its death toll has hit 57,692, which is the fourth highest in the world, which has surpassed 800,000. On Sunday, the Asian nation reported 846 deaths and 61,749 more cases.

But with the second-highest population of 1.38 billion people, India has among the lowest mortality rates per capita — 42 deaths per million of population. Comparatively, the world figure is 104.0.

The United States, which has the most deaths at more than 176,000, has a figure of 545. Second-place Brazil, with 114,277 deaths, is close to the U.S. with 538. Also in the top 10, No. 5 Britain is 610, No. 6 Italy 586, No. 7 France 467, No. 8 Spain 617, No. 9 Peru 831 with No. 10 Iran the lowest in the top 10 at 245.

Notably, Mainland China, where the virus originated, has a rate of 3 per million. With the largest population in the world at 1.43 billion, the nation has 4,634 deaths, a figure that has not changed since late April.

In India, the Punjab state government issued a curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., instead of 9 p.m. start on Friday, the same day as the highest number of cases, 1,741, were reported. In addition, there is a ban on all types of gatherings except marriages and funerals with all offices at 50 percent capacity.

The state has a population of 28 million.

Elsewhere in Asia, the outbreak has stabilized, outside of a spike in cases of a few thousand.

The continent’s death toll is 130,235, with a majority of fatalities in India and Iran, including 1,327 more Sunday

Indonesia is third with 6,680 deaths, including 86 more Sunday.

Although Korea reported no deaths Sunday, with its total at 309, the nation has recorded 10 days in a row of triple-digit increases, including the most recent 397, which is the highest since March 7. All but 10 of them were local infections.

Cases have mostly traced to churches in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi Province.

“We sincerely ask all the people to follow the guidelines of social distancing Level 2 as this weekend is a critical juncture,” KCDC chief Jeong Eun-kyeong said in a press briefing. “We are currently facing a serious situation on the verge of a large-scale nationwide pandemic.”

To counter the spread, the government has closed beaches and churches, as well as banning fans from baseball games. In addition, indoor gatherings of more than 50 people are barred as well as buffet restaurants, nightclubs and karaoke venues.

In Japan, cases have surpassed four digits in all but six days in August. Sunday’s cases increase was 1,169 with 14 deaths. The record since the pandemic started was 1,998 on Aug. 3. Deaths were 16 twice last week with the record 49 on May 4 for a total 1,169. On July 29, it surpassed 1,000 deaths.

Japan, meanwhile, has eased travel restrictions from Cambodia, Singapore and Malaysia. They must observe a 14-day self-quarantine period and take other precautions against the coronavirus.

The pandemic continues to surge in Latin America, including Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Colombia.

Brazil reported 823 more deaths Saturday for a total of 114,277 as well as 46,210 cases for a total of 3,582,698, which is second in the world behind the United States.

President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the illness though he contracted it himself.

Brazil’s congress on Friday overturned his veto of mandatory mask wearing in closed spaces such as commercial establishments, offices, schools and places of worship.

Peru reported 208 deaths on Saturday. Two places below Peru in 11th place is Colombia, which reported 400 deaths Saturday. The nation passed Russia last week for total deaths.

In South America, a total of 187,681 deaths have been reported, including 1,726 Saturday.

Farther north, deaths are surging in Mexico, which reported 644 fatalities Saturday for a total of 60,254.

In early June when there were just over 12,500 fatalities, deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell a 60,000 milestone would represent a “very catastrophic scenario.”

The country is testing only 970 per 100,000 compared with 22,809 in the United States and 13,434 in Canada.

“More could and probably needs to be done to really address the surveillance issues and the differential outcomes for patients and different groups,” Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, said Friday in a report by CBC.

Canada reported only seven deaths Saturday for a total of 9,071, as well as 257 cases.

Of the 258,066 deaths in North American, all but around 8,000 are in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

The U.S., Canada and Mexico have extended their border closures except for essential travel through Sept. 20. Restrictions have been in place since March 21.

The U.S. is not among 14 countries the European Union is allowing non-essential travel. Canada is on the list.

Europe has largely contained the pandemic in terms of fatalities but has seen a spike in cases, which are relatively tiny compared with hot spots around the world.

On Sunday, 189 deaths and 19,684 cases were reported. That total is 205,307 deaths and 3,54,510 cases.

Britain added six deaths Sunday compared with a high of 1,166 on April 21. Italy, which was in first place early in the pandemic, reported seven fatalities after a high of 921 on March 27. France added one death Sunday vs. a high of 1,437 on April 15. Spain, which last reported 25 deaths on Friday, had a high of 961 on April 2.

On Sunday, France reported 4,897 cases, which is the highest since April. And since June, the nation has added added more than 2,500 cases during 11 days, all this month.

Italy announced 1,210 new cases Sunday, which is the highest May.

On Friday, Spain reported 3,650 cases after 6,015 on Aug. 11, which was the highest since March.

Germany, which at one time was in the top 10 and now is in 16th place, reported 2,034 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, its highest daily spike since April though only one death as reported. On Sunday, added 324 cases and another fatality.

Russia has been reporting the most cases for several weeks in Europe, including 4,852 for a total of 956,749 in fourth overall. The nation is 12th worldwide in deaths, including 73 more Sunday.

Australia and New Zealand have seen a spike in cases.

New Zealand’s death toll has been 22 since one fatality on May 28 but cases have surged after only 32 were reported in the entire month of July. In August the case total has risen from 1,562 to 1,674 with an additional 43 in one week, including three on Sunday.

President Donald Trump pointed out the spike which pales in comparison with the U.S.: “New Zealand, by the way, had a big outbreak,” Trump said during a briefing. “And other countries that were held up to try and make us look not as good as we should look – because we’ve done an incredible job – but they’re having a lot of outbreaks, but they’ll be able to put them out and we put them out.”

Australia reported 17 deaths to rise to 502 and 210 new cases. The fatalities have climbed by 106 in one week. On July 15, the toll was 111.

Victoria, where most of the deaths have occurred, is in an extended lockdown through Sept. 13.

In Africa, deaths increased by 275 Saturday to 27,649, which is an increase of 2,000 in one week. South Africa leads the continent with 12,987, including 144 Saturday, about 1,000 more in a week. Egypt followed with 5,246 deaths, including an additional 12 Saturday.

South Africa has the fifth-most most cases in the world, including 3,707 Saturday.


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