With close to 48 lakh India’s recovery rate is more than 81%. But should we be happy about that?
#Coronavirus news live updates:— Deccan Herald (@DeccanHerald) September 22, 2020
* India’s #Covid19 tally crosses 55-lakh mark; Maharashtra adds 15,738 new cases
* India’s recovery rate is at an high of over 80 per cent, according to the Ministry of Health
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According to the experts in a News 18 report, the recovery rate is a wrong metric to be focusing on as it shifts the attention away from more than 6 million active cases and continues to grow. Professor Gautam Menon, professor of physics and biology at Ashoka University said:
The recovery percentage is of very little significance from an epidemiological perspective. It tells us nothing about the current state of the pandemic since it is a cumulative measure.
It is believed that the recovery rate will eventually hit at least 98%, “considering the infection fatality rate of about 0.1% -0.5%, more than 99% of those infected will finally recover.”
So reporting the consistent growth of the recovery contains little information since that is exactly what should be happening. Instead, test positivity rates and how they trend would be the most significant indicator of the current progress of the pandemic.
The test positivity rate (TPR), measures the number of positive samples among total samples tested and this number has remained consistently above the 5% mark for India. While The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stressed that countries must focus on keeping TPR under 5%, India’s TPR is nearing the 12% mark.
What also remains unnoticed is that the number of recoveries have increased sharply since the revised ‘Covid-19 discharge policy’ was introduced by the health ministry, which allowed discharge of patients showing mild or very mild symptoms, or those who were pre-symptomatic, to be “discharged after 10 days of symptom onset” with “no need for testing prior to discharge”. This is also one of the biggest reasons why India’s Covid-19 recovery rate is so high.
Health economist Rijo M John believes that of the parameters to gauge India’s situation:
First of all, what we call recoveries are mostly discharges from Covid-care facilities and there have been reported incidents of people falling sick again and some even dying after being discharged.
Most of the people who are discharged are given advice to self-isolate for 7 days more, which might not be foolproof.