Covid-19 was widespread even in initial days: ICMR survey

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 11, 2020 Published on September 11, 2020

India had 6.4 million infections by early May

The just-published details of the first sero-surveillance survey carried out by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in May , to ascertain the extent of Covid-19 pandemic, indicated that Covid-19 was much more widespread than previously thought.

The sketchy details of the survey made public earlier revealed that about 6.4 million Indians (0.73 per cent of India’s adult population) were infected by Covid-19 by early May.

However, the survey results just published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, for the first time gave an idea about how widespread was the infection across the country. The survey covered 28,000 people across 70 districts which were divided into four categories — zero, low, medium and high — in terms of the number of Covid-19 cases per million.

Significantly, the survey found that at least 1 in 200 people was found to be infected even in districts where the Covid-19 infection was considered absent. In the ‘high prevalence districts’, Covid-19 had hit 1 per cent of the population.

“It’s a mystery why they (ICMR) wanted to delay the release of the findings. Empowering people with information is more comforting. People are scared. They do not know what to believe,” said Dr Jayaprakash Muliyil, former professor of community medicine at Christian Medical College, Vellore, who also contributed to the ICMR survey. “Right now, these results are only of academic interest,” he said.

Meanwhile, India reported a rise of 96,551 fresh Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours taking the total toll to 45,62,414 till date. The tally of total Covid-19 cases included 9,43,480 active cases, 35,42,663 recovered cases and 76,271 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

In the last 24 hours, as many as 1,209 Covid-19 deaths were reported in India, the official data showed. Earlier, data showed that five States are contributing to 60 per cent of total cases with Maharashtra at the top followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.


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Published on September 11, 2020
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