04 August, 2021

Does India Have A Milder Epidemic? Not Really

What explains India’s low uptake initially? India’s population structure probably. Other countries have a larger representation of the elderly than we have

Does India Have A Milder Epidemic? Not Really

This is a question that has mutated right in front of our eyes, almost as if to mock us. It was in the air, minus the ‘not’, all of spring and early summer, tremulously asked, and perhaps frequently (and prematurely) presumed to have an answer in the affirmative. A sense that the virus was somehow less virulent here; that if there was a specific India story to Covid, purely epidemiologically speaking, it was that we were speaking of a more modest dystopia. Merely a stronger version of a passing flu. The data curve was such that it could help foster that impression.

It was around three months ago, in March, that the COVID-19 season properly began in India. Soon, the dizzying spiral in Italy had gripped the world’s att­ention. Then, within days, that graph was replicating itself in the US. Naturally, the spectre of Covid effortlessly conquering new territories evoked fears.

But even by April, India’s statistics were now­here near the worst-case scenario. The question naturally arose: was there something at work besides a stringent...

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