India’s ‘Self-Inflicted National Catastrophe’

The scale of COVID-19’s attack on India is difficult to imagine, but a widely shared Lancet editorial tried:
 
1 million deaths by August 1.
 
The Lancet editors, citing data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, said if that unfathomable number is reached, then Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government would be responsible for “a self-inflicted national catastrophe.”
 
Mortality Estimates: India’s latest official numbers: 246,116 deaths.
 
Ashish Jha, Brown University School of Public Health’s dean, dismantled that number in a thread arguing that 27,000 Indians die each day in normal times and the reported 4,000 COVID-19 deaths per day wouldn’t overload the crematoria. Instead, crematoria are running 24/7 and reporting 2-4X their normal business.
 
“You can’t ignore the dead,” says Jha, who puts COVID-19 deaths at closer to 25,000 per day and possibly many more. That makes the IHME prediction much more likely.
 
What’s behind India’s surge? The B.1.617 variant that first appeared in India in October is more contagious and may be escaping vaccines, WHO’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said, according to India Today.

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