NEW DELHI AFP Aug17, 2020 -India’s official coronavirus death toll soared past 50,000 on Monday as the pandemic rages through smaller cities and rural areas where health care is feeble and stigmatisation rife.
Many experts say the real numbers may be far higher due to low testing rates and because deaths are often not properly recorded in the vast and impoverished nation of 1.3 billion people.
India last week overtook Britain with the world’s fourth-highest number of fatalities, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico, and as of Monday had recorded 50,921 deaths, according to the health ministry.
With some of the world’s biggest megacities and slums, India is already the third-most infected nation behind the US and Brazil with 2.65 million infections.
Despite the rising death toll, the health ministry said on Sunday that India’s virus mortality rate of 1.92 percent was “one of the lowest globally”.
According to tracking website Worldometer, the United States, with 170,000 deaths, has a death rate of 3.11 percent while Brazil, with almost 110,000 fatalities, sees 3.22 percent of those who test positive die.
But experts say India’s testing rates per million inhabitants are far lower than other countries, and that too few deaths are properly recorded -- even in normal times.