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Coronavirus: The 'mystery' of low Covid-19 death rates in India

The global media reports are a mixture of relief and bafflement.

They talk about the "mystery behind India's lower death rates" from the Covid-19 infection, and say that India is "bucking the coronavirus trend". One talks about the "Indian exception as death rates in major Indian cities are lower compared to global coronavirus hotspots".

Nearly two months after its first recorded case, Covid-19 infections in the world's second-most populous country have passed 27,000, with more than 800 deaths.

One way to understand the death rate is to track how many days it takes for total deaths to double.

In India, this is currently at nine days - there were 825 confirmed deaths on 25 April, compared to about half or so of that number on 16 April.

Experts say that's good news. The doubling time for deaths in New York at the same stage of the pandemic was only two or three days, they say.

Many public health professionals and doctors say India's grinding lockdown, which has lasted more than a month, could have kept infection and deaths in check.

Others believe that India's predominantly young population is helping keep fatalities low - elderly people have an elevated risk of death from the infection.

Yet others talk about the possibilities of the presence of a less virulent strain of the virus in India, along with the possibility that its hot weather was diminishing the contagion.

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