COVID-19: India’s Leading Cause Of Deaths

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    According to the recent estimates by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), the COVID-19 pandemic has emerged as the biggest cause of death in India.

    • Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent global health research centre at the University of Washington, US

    About

    • India has recorded more than 19 million cases of coronavirus-second only to the US and has confirmed more than 2,15,000 deaths.
    • The human toll of the pandemic is more than double the number of humans killed in over 320 natural disasters during the recent two decades (2000-2019).
    • Another issue highlighted was the quality of our mortality statistics, there have been reports of under-reported deaths.

    Other top 5 causes of deaths in India

    • Ischemic heart disease (second)
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (third) 
    • Strokes (fourth)
    • Diarrhoeal diseases (fifth) 

    Possible reasons for high deaths in COVID-19 

    • The highly potent and transmissible ‘double mutant’ B.1.617 Indian variant of SARS-CoV-2.
    • India’s poor health infrastructure, lack of medical oxygen and even medicines. 
    • India’s COVID-19 vaccine procurement and differential pricing policy.
      • States have to await their quota of vaccines
    • Even, the Centre and state governments have been accused and held responsible by the Supreme Court and High Court for undermining the scale of crisis and failure to manage it.

    Way ahead

    • The IHME advises governments to impose strict physical distancing norms for six weeks at least once deaths cross 8 per million.
    • The Supreme Court recently advised both Centre as well as states to resort to lockdowns if needed but to also ensure livelihoods weren’t impacted.
    • Even, the top health experts said, an “immediate” shutdown of the nation for a “few weeks” could put an end to the cycle of transmission of the virus in India.
    • Owing to the covid pandemic, the collection of accurate data on deaths and fatality causes is all the more important right now. 
      • This can aid in carrying out targeted vaccination in clusters where the fatality rate is high.
    • According to a report by Johns Hopkins University, India has genetically sequenced less than one-tenth of reported cases, and it ranks India at No. 102 in coronavirus genetic sequencing so need more R&D.

    Source: DTE