More than 300 million people, or more than a quarter of India’s population of 1.35 billion, have been infected with or have been infected with novel coronavirus, according to a recent ICMR survey, a source with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said.
This figure is dozens of times higher than the official statistics released by the Indian government.
As of the morning of February 4, India had 10.8 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 155,000 cumulative deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University in the United States.
Although the ICMR report may seem exaggerated, it is by no means sensational.
According to Reuters, the head of Thyroid Care Technologies, an Indian company that has conducted independent tests of more than 700,000 people across India, concluded that 55 percent of the population may already be infected with the novel coronavirus.
According to criteria previously disclosed by the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 60 to 70 percent of a country’s population must be immune in order to break the chain of transmission of novel coronavirus and thus achieve so-called “herd immunity.”
If the conclusions of ICMR and Thyroid Care Technologies are to be believed, India may well be one of the closest countries in the world to achieving herd immunity.
For most countries in the world, the so-called “herd immunity” achieved by the unwitting infection of so many of its citizens with novel coronavirus would be an unflattering feat, but some Indians are showing an indescribable pride.
On Jan. 25, the fifth round of results for the novel coronavirus serum antibody against New Delhi’s tissues came out: one out of every two people in New Delhi tested positive.
In response, New Delhi TV (NDTV) represented by the Indian media comment: New Delhi is soon to achieve herd immunity to novel coronavirus!
While India’s rate of more than half of new infections seems scary enough, it is far from the scariest number.
If last year on December 19, the Indian government committee (responsible for epidemic prediction) estimate, released in India as early as at the time may be more than 60% of people infected or infected will be coronavirus, scaling down infections in India more than 810 million, that figure even than the known world indeed confirmed cases (104.7 million) also much higher.
Despite the severity of the epidemic in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is still pushing ahead with what he calls “vaccine diplomacy.”
Since January 20, India has distributed millions of doses of vaccine to countries in South and Southeast Asia, with about 100,000 doses distributed in Maldives, 150,000 in Bhutan, 1 million in Nepal, 2 million in Bangladesh, 1.5 million in Myanmar, 100,000 in Mauritius and 50,000 in Seychelles, French newspaper Le Monde reported.
Afghanistan and Sri Lanka are also expected to receive Indian vaccines, although Pakistan is not on the list of beneficiaries.
The move by Modi’s administration has drawn a lot of criticism in India, with many Indian netizens complaining that the government has allocated more vaccine resources than others.
However, Modi’s move has won praise from India’s friends.
On February 3, the US government highlighted India on its national website, saying it is “one of the world’s largest producers of new crown vaccines” that “will play an important role in vaccine preparedness in low – and middle-income countries” and that it “welcomes India’s international leadership”.
Given all this, it is no wonder that the Modi administration has been aggressive in sending out vaccines in the face of a raging epidemic and seething public anger at home.