Countries with poor hygiene, low-quality water have low Covid fatality rate: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 30, 2020 Published on October 26, 2020

Finds that better sanitation leads to poorer ‘immune training’ and more deaths

A study has found that countries where hygiene is poor, along with low-quality sanitation and water, seem to have a low Covid-19 fatality rate (CFR) as compared to countries that are well sanitised.


The study was carried out by researchers in India that extended the support to the “hygiene hypothesis” which claims that areas having high levels of background infections are likely to witness less Covid-19 deaths.

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The research revealed that within India, Bihar, one of the poorest States on socio-economic parameters, kept the death rate at 0.5 per cent, i.e. one third the national average.

Bihar is not alone with a low CFR. Kerala and Assam, with a rate of 0.4, Telangana 0.5, and Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh at 0.9 have CFR less than one. However, fairly better States, including Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Punjab, have CFR values of 2 or higher.

The paper has been published by the CSIR, the National Centre for Cell Science in Pune, and the Chennai Mathematical Institute. It was published in the journal MedRxiv.

For the study, the researchers examined various developmental parameters. This included water and sanitation, and Covid-19 deaths per million in over 100 countries. The study found that the poorer the water-sanitation scores, the lower the deaths per million.

The study stated: “Paradoxically, better sanitation leads to poorer ‘immune training’ and thus could be leading to higher deaths per million.”

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Published on October 26, 2020
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