I have been doing Data Analytics Studies on the Coronavirus Pandemic for 89 days and have written 144 research-based blog posts on COVID-19 in these 89 days.
Almost every day, I read a news story based on a government briefing or interview that India is managing COVID-19 better than most of the world. How true is this?
India has so far declared 267,748 positive COVID-19 cases, and is ranked No.6 in the world in number of cases, but No.27 in Cases per Million (CPM) out of 27 countries which have reported a minimum of 40,000 cases. So, in CPM, India is basically at the bottom of the list — and the government is also using this statistic to say that India is managing the Coronavirus pandemic well.
To evaluate correctly, we need to look at the testing data. India has only tested less than 0.36% of its population for the virus.
UAE has tested almost 25.7% of its population, or as much as 72 times as India. OK, someone may argue that UAE is a very small country where such coverage is possible.
So, let us only look at countries with a population of over 50 million. Amongst these, Russia (popn. ~145.93 million) has tested over 9% of its population (a coverage of 25.5 times that of India), UK (67.86 million) over 8.44%, Italy (60.47 million) over 8%, USA (330.87 million) over 6.5%, Germany (83.77 million) over 5.2%, Brazil (212.45 million) over 5%, Turkey (84.27 million) over 2.8%, France (65.26 million) almost 2.3%, South Africa (59.25 million) almost 1.6%, Iran (83.9 million) over 1.34%, and Colombia (50.85 million) has tested almost 8.3% of its population, which is a coverage of almost 2.33 times that of India. Testing data is not available for China (surprised?)
The next argument will be that all these countries can afford to do much more testing as they are richer than India. Is this argument valid?
The answer is no!!!
Uzbekistan‘s (33.4 million) per capita income (on a PPP basis) is about 4% lesser than India and it’s testing rate is 6.28 times that of India. With the same testing rate, India’s case count would be 1.68 million, very close to world No.1 USA in case ranking and more than double that of Brazil. India’s CPM would go up to 1,219, putting the country at No.22 out of 27 countries, ahead of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Colombia, South Africa and Mexico.
Ghana‘s (31 million) per capita income (on a PPP basis) is a huge 37% lesser than India and it’s testing rate is 2.13 times that of India. With the same testing rate, India’s case count would be 569,734, lower than Brazil but higher than world No.3 Russia. India’s CPM would go up to 413. Though India would remain at the No.27 rank in CPM, it would be much closer to the CPM’s of Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Nepal‘s (29 million) per capita income (on a PPP basis) is a whopping 62% lesser than India and even it’s testing rate is 2.63 times that of India. With the same testing rate, India’s case count would be 703,022, higher than Russia and very close to Brazil. India’s CPM would go up to 510, putting the country at No.25 out of 27 countries, ahead of Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Dear Prime Minister Modi — if India can’t match the testing rate of other developing nations such as Brazil and South Africa (both part of the BRICS grouping along with Russia, India and China), can we at least match that of Uzbekistan, Ghana and Nepal?
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LATEST UPDATES (at 1:15 pm UTC; June 9, 2020):
- The world has crossed 7.231 million cases
- The global death toll is over 409,400
- India has reported 268,139 cases and 7,487 deaths so far. In number of cases, India is No.6 in the world (up from No.22 on April 14). India’s Maharashtra state, with 88,529 cases, would rank No.18 if it were a country (up from No.44 on April 24)
- South Africa and Belarus became the 22nd & 23rd countries to cross 50,000 cases
- 6 countries have crossed 250,000 cases (up from 0 on April 1)
- 12 countries have crossed 150,000 cases (up from 1 on April 3)
- 16 countries have crossed 100,000 cases (up from 3 on April 3)
- 23 countries have crossed 50,000 cases (up from 8 on April 3)
- 37 countries have crossed 25,000 cases (up from 11 on April 3)
- 48 countries have crossed 15,000 cases (up from 16 on April 16)
- 57 countries have crossed 10,000 cases (up from 23 on April 16)
- South Africa became the 31st country to cross 1,000 deaths
- 2 countries have crossed 40,000 deaths (up from 0 on April 3)
- 6 countries have crossed 25,000 deaths (up from 0 on April 3)
- 15 countries have crossed 5,000 deaths (up from 5 on April 3)
- 19 countries have crossed 2,500 deaths (up from 7 on April 3)
- 31 countries have crossed 1,000 deaths (up from 10 on April 3)
- 41 countries have crossed 500 deaths (up from 16 on April 16)