Scientists are trying to work out why coronavirus cases in India are falling when at one point it looked like the country might overtake the US as the worst-hit nation. In September the country was reporting some 100,00 new cases per day, but that went into decline in October and is now sitting at around 10,000 per day – leaving experts struggling to explain why.
While the Indian government has been keen to put the apparent success down to its mask-wearing and social distancing laws, few believe these measures alone are responsible for the dip.
Instead, experts believe it may be down to the fact that India’s largest cities have reached herd immunity, meaning the virus has moved to rural areas where it spreads slower and where cases and deaths are far less likely to be tested and logged. A recent survey found 56 per cent of people in Delhi – the country’s most-populous city – have Covid antibodies, which is likely to be an under-estimate with 70 per cent required for herd immunity.
Only around 20 per cent of deaths in India are medically certified – meaning 80 per cent do not have an official cause of death – with analysts warning the country may be under-counting its Covid fatalities by two or three times.