A staggering 63 million people in India may have been infected with the coronavirus, a new survey has found — a total that’s 10 times higher than officially reported.
Researchers discovered that about one in 15 people over the age of 10 had COVID-19 antibodies after they surveyed more than 29,000 in 700 villages and wards, CNN reported Wednesday.
More than 966 million people are aged 10 or older in India, which has a population of 1.3 billion, according to 2011 census data. That means one in 15 represents about 63.78 million people, the outlet said.
The national survey was conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research from mid-August to mid-September.
India has officially recorded 6.2 million COVID-19 cases — the second highest in the world behind the US’s 7.1 million cases, according to data Wednesday morning from Johns Hopkins University. India has also had 97,497 deaths.
The survey findings indicate that for every officially reported case, there are 26 to 32 people who’ve actually been infected but flown under the radar, the council’s director Dr. Balram Bhargava said at a news conference on Tuesday.
Experts have warned that India’s coronavirus crisis is far from over and suspect infections and coronavirus-related deaths have been largely underreported due to lack of testing.
Johns Hopkins found that only about 82 of every 100,000 Indians are being tested per day — compared to about 284 in the US and 329 in the UK, CNN said.
“Since a large proportion of the population is still susceptible, prevention fatigue has to be avoided,” Bhargava said.
The percentage of residents in Indian slum communities who tested positive for coronavirus antibodies is 15.6 percent, compared to 8.2 percent in non-slum urban areas. In rural areas, that number plummets to 4.4 percent.
India reached 6 million confirmed cases Monday as infections soar across the country. Nearly one in every three new infections reported in the world were recorded in the country, according to Johns Hopkins.
More than 82,100 new coronavirus cases were reported in India in just 24 hours on Monday.
The South Asian nation, however, also has the highest number of recovered patients in the world — 5 million people have bounced back from COVID-19, a recovery rate of 82.5 percent.
Most Indian states have completely reopened in an effort to boost the ailing economy following the draconian lockdown in March.
With Post wires