India had 6.4M coronavirus cases in early May: Survey

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NEW DELHI, India

As Indian official data shows 4.5 million people have so far been infected by the novel coronavirus, a recent survey estimated that the country had 6.4 million infections three months ago.

The result of the country’s first population-based sero survey has indicated that 0.73% of adults in the country were at high risk of exposure to potentially infected persons by early May.

An estimate of sero survey detailed the state of the epidemic in the country (population which developed anti-bodies against the infection).

The findings published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research has come at a time when India is continuously witnessing a massive increase of new coronavirus cases, with Health Ministry figures showing that nearly 97,000 cases and 1,209 deaths were recorded over the last 24 hours.

The survey was carried out between May 11 and June 4 in 21 States of India. In mid-May, official figures showed that the number of cases in India were less than 100,000.

“The findings of our survey indicated that the overall sero prevalence in India was low, with less than one per cent of the adult population exposed to SARS-CoV-2 by mid May 2020. The low prevalence observed in most districts indicates that India is in early phase of the epidemic and the majority of the Indian population is still susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the report said.

The survey has also found that sero-positivity was found highest in the age group of 18-45 years and lowest in those who are aged above 60 years.

The authors in the report have recommended that “as most of the population remains susceptible to infection, our public health strategy needs to plan for an inevitable increase in transmission”.

For the last two days, India continues to record a highest single-day increase in new virus cases in the country. While Thursday recorded 95,735 new cases, the Friday morning figures showed that 96,551 new cases were found, taking the total number to over 4.5 million.

The death toll in the country rose to 76,271, with 1,209 additions over the past 24 hours.

Experts in the country say that by the end of September India may even surpass the US — the worst-affected country worldwide — in the severity of the pandemic.

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