India's COVID-19 recovery rate improving, fatality rate declining: Health Ministry

India is the seventh worst-hit nation by the COVID-19 pandemic

Passengers onboard a train at Charbagh railway station in Lucknow | PTI Passengers onboard a train at Charbagh railway station in Lucknow | PTI

There has been a steady decline in India's COVID-19 fatality rate which now stands at 2.83 per cent, much lower than in countries like the US, the UK, France and Italy, the Union Health Ministry said on Monday, even as India recorded 230 deaths and its biggest single-day spike of 8,392 cases in 24 hours.

India is the seventh worst-hit nation by the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of the number of infections, after the US, Brazil, Russia, the UK, Spain and Italy.

While the recovery rate in coronavirus infections is improving and has reached 48.19 per cent in India, there has been steady decline in the case fatality which is now 2.83 per cent, the health ministry said.

The death toll in India due to COVID-19 rose to 5,394 and the cases climbed to 1,90,535 on Monday, according to the ministry's morning update.

The number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 93,322 while 91,818 people have recovered so far with 4,835 patients being cured in the last 24 hours.

The recovery rate, now 48.19 per cent, has improved from 11.42 per cent on April 15 to 26.59 per cent on May 3 and to 38.29 per cent on May 18, the ministry said. 

The case fatality rate is 2.83 per cent as against 6.19 per cent globally, the ministry said.

From 3.3 per cent on April 15, India's COVID-19 fatality rate declined to 3.25 per cent on May 3 and came down further to 3.15 per cent on May 18, it said.

"A steady decline can be seen in the case fatality rate in the country. The relatively low death rate is attributed to the continued focus on surveillance, timely case identification and clinical management of the cases," the ministry said.

"Two specific trends are thus noticed, while the recovery rate is increasing on one hand, case fatality is going down on the other," it said. 

The ministry also said that the testing capacity has increased in the country through 472 government and 204 private laboratories.

Cumulatively, 38,37,207 samples have been tested so far for COVID-19, with 1,00,180 samples being tested on Sunday.

Presenting the case fatality rate for countries having the highest number of deaths, vide WHO situation report-132 dated May 31, the ministry said the US with 1,01,567 deaths has a case fatality rate of 5.92 per cent, while the UK with 38,376 deaths has a case fatality rate of 14.07 per cent.

Italy, Spain, France and Brazil with 33,340, 29,043, 28,717 and 27,878 deaths have a case fatality rate (CFR) of 14.33 pc, 12.12 pc, 19.35 pc and 5.99 pc respectively.

Mexico which has reported 9,415 COVID-19 casualties has a CFR of 11.13 per cent, Germany with 8,500 deaths has a CFR of 4.68 per cent and Canada with 6,996 deaths has a CFR of 7.80 per cent. 

Meanwhile, a group of health experts, including doctors from the AIIMS and two members of an ICMR research group on COVID-19, has said community transmission of the coronavirus infection has been well-established across large sections or sub-populations in the country.

The government has maintained that the country has not yet reached the community transmission stage of the disease.

The report compiled by experts from the Indian Public Health Association (IPHA), Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine (IAPSM) and Indian Association of Epidemiologists (IAE) has been submitted to the prime minister.

"It is unrealistic to expect that COVID-19 pandemic can be eliminated at this stage given that community transmission is already well-established across large sections or sub-populations in the country," the report said.

"The expected benefit of this stringent nationwide lockdown was to spread out the disease over an extended period of time to flatten the curve and effectively plan and manage so that the healthcare delivery system is not overwhelmed. This seems to have been achieved albeit after 4th lockdown with extraordinary inconvenience and disruption of the economy and life of the general public," the experts said in the report.

Of the 230 deaths reported since Sunday morning, 89 are in Maharashtra, 57 in Delhi, 31 in Gujarat, 13 in Tamil Nadu, 12 in Uttar Pradesh, eight in West Bengal, seven in Madhya Pradesh, five in Telangana, three in Karnataka, two in Andhra Pradesh and one each in Bihar, Punjab and Rajasthan.

Out of the total 5,394 fatalities, Maharashtra tops tally with 2,286 deaths followed by Gujarat with 1,038 deaths, Delhi with 473, Madhya Pradesh with 350, West Bengal with 317, Uttar Pradesh with 213, Rajasthan with 194,Tamil Nadu with 173, Telangana with 82 and Andhra Pradesh with 62 deaths.

The death toll has reached 51 in Karnataka and 45 in Punjab.

Jammu and Kashmir has reported 28 fatalities due to the disease, Bihar has 21, Haryana has 20 deaths, Kerala has nine while Odisha has reported seven deaths so far.

Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand have registered five COVID-19 fatalities each while Chandigarh and Assam have recorded four deaths each so far.

Meghalaya and Chhattisgarh have reported one COVID-19 fatality each, according to ministry data.

More than 70 per cent of the deaths are due to comorbidities, according to the health ministry website.