It seems that the sentiment around the world for the moment is to find ways to live with the pandemic. In such a situation where no one can shut the economic activities for a long-time, what matters is the extent to which a nation is able to save lives among the infected population. As per the ‘WHO Situation Report 154’ dated 22ndJune, 2020, India comes out tops on this accomplishment with one of the lowest death rates per lakh population.
According to the report, India’s cases of death per lakh population is 1.00, while the global average is more than its six times, at 6.04. The United Kingdom (UK) has witnessed 63.13 cases of COVID-19 related deaths per lakh population, while the metric for Spain, Italy and US is 60.60, 57.19 and 36.30 respectively.
Not Luck, But Hard work
To keep the number of deaths from infections low, it is not any luck or chance that came to help India. Targeted testing, tracing of the contacts, and managing the medical infrastructure in an effective manner led to the minimization of fatalities. As we have highlighted in an earlier piece, states like Karnataka which are meticulously tracking the cases with technology adoption has made the difference. Congested places like Dharavi, where it was thought that there can be no way for containing the spread of the virus, saw the same aggressive tracing and screening method helping to save lives and bringing the situation under control.
As on June 23, 2020 the recovery rate in India is 56.38% amongst COVID-19 patients, and it is improving constantly. During the last 24 hours, a total of 10,994 COVID-19 patients have been cured. So far, a total of 2,48,189 patients have been cured of COVID-19.
Taking Care of the Large Population
India has really worked hard to build up health infrastructure during the lockdown period, and that largely explains India’s success in ensuring that due medical care is available for the affected, thus minimizing the possibility of losing lives.
The number of government labs has been increased to 726 and private labs have increased to 266, summing up to a total of 992.
India explored some novel ways to treat the patients as well. During the lockdown, it came up with the idea of converting certain Railways coaches as treatment facility. Now, Indian Railways has deployed total 960 COVID Care coaches in 5 states. 503 COVID Care coaches have been deployed in Delhi, 20 in Andhra Pradesh, 60 in Telangana, 372 in Uttar Pradesh and 5 in Madhya Pradesh.
PM CARES Fund Trust has allocated ₹2,000 crore for supplying 50,000 ‘Made-in-India’ ventilators to government run COVID hospitals in all States/UTs. So far 2,923 ventilators have been manufactured, out of which 1,340 ventilators have already been delivered to the States/UTs. The prominent recipients include Maharashtra (275), Delhi (275), Gujarat (175), Bihar (100), Karnataka (90), Rajasthan (75). By the end of June 2020, an additional 14,000 ventilators will be delivered to all States/UTs.
As noted earlier, there is a need to keep the economy open and build livelihoods; however, it can be argued that infections are bound to happen to an extent. Nevertheless, in saving lives, India has put its best foot forward and prevented the nation from having the fate of countries like US and UK, where deaths per lakh population are alarmingly high.