12:21 GMT01 October 2020
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    The number of COVID-19 cases in India topped 5 million on Wednesday, with over 90,000 new cases added in the past 24 hours. The total caseload of 5,020,359 includes 995,933 active cases, 3,942,360 who have recovered and 82,066 deaths.

    An Oxford Researcher, Max Roser, has claimed that the number of new cases specified in the official data released by India’s federal Health and Family Welfare Ministry was much lower than the actual number, as the country isn't conducting nearly enough tests. Roser estimates that the true number of new infections in India could be as high as 800,000 per day.

    Roser explained that the official estimates and his estimates differ because the models differ in data used and assumptions made. For comparison, confirmed cases are infections that have been confirmed with tests.

    India is second only to the United States among the worst affected countries in the world in terms of COVID-19 cases. As of Wednesday, the US has 6,788,147 cases, while India has crossed the 5 million mark. However, India is far behind in terms of testing: while the US had tested 282,526 persons per million as of Wednesday, India has only tested 42,977 per million.

    According to Professor K. Srinath Reddy, President of the Public Health Foundation of India – a public-private initiative working for a healthier India, one of the reasons for the surge in cases has been the movement of people. He said that since June when the lockdown was lifted, people have started moving more, amid government hopes to reduce the impact on the economy.

    “The unlocking has resulted in a large number of people moving and mixing, without many restrictions,” Professor Reddy told Sputnik News. 

    According to India’s federal Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the prolonged lockdown, which was introduced in late March, helped save thousands of deaths.

    “It has been estimated that this decision prevented approximately 14–29 lakh cases (1,400,000 - 2,290,000) and 37,000–78,000 deaths,” Dr. Vardhan told Parliament in a statement on Monday (14 September).

    Related:

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    India’s Surging COVID-19 Cases Worrisome, Says Public Health Expert
    COVID-19 Live Updates: WHO Warns Increase in Cases Back to Spring Level in Some Countries
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    Oxford University, COVID-19, New Delhi, India
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