With its crowded cities and overburdened health care system, authorities feared the coronavirus pandemic would hit India like a sledgehammer. So far, that hasn't happened, but authorities aren't... Health News Summaries. | Newser

India's COVID-19 Death Rate Is a Mystery, Experts Say

Posted Apr 28, 2020 5:58 PM CDT (Newser) – With its crowded cities and overburdened health care system, authorities feared the coronavirus pandemic would hit India like a sledgehammer. With a population of 1.3 billion, the country has now recorded just over 29,000 COVID-19 cases and 934 deaths, far fewer than the US or many countries in Europe, reports Reuters . Authorities have credited the world's biggest lockdown with reducing the infection rate, while others have speculated that the virus strain circulating in India could be less virulent than others, that a tuberculosis vaccine provides some immunity, or that hot weather is reducing infections, the BBC reports. Experts, however, say the relatively low death rate in a mystery and more testing might provide the answer. Around 80% of Indians die at home, meaning that as in other countries, COVID-19 deaths may be severely under-reported, though doctors say there has not been a big surge in hospital deaths. "We typically get 20 bodies a day, but these days it's one or two, maximum," says Lakshmi Kumar, 46, proprietor of a private ambulance and funeral company in Bengaluru, tells NPR . "We still get the occasional heart attack victim, but otherwise it's quiet. There haven't been road accidents, because everyone is staying at home." Restrictions are due to be lifted May 3 but with around 1,500 new cases reported daily, authorities say the measures might have to be extended.

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