Though India registered the first case of coronavirus within a seven-day window of Italy, the UK, Germany, or Spain discovering their own, India’s case and trajectory of fatality have been much slower than its counterparts. While India is now the world’s third most infected country with a contribution of 12 percent to global infections, the contribution to global deaths remains relatively low at 7 percent – an unusual statistic for the second-most populous country with relatively poor health infrastructure. The initial serosurvey results conducted by the Indian Medical Research Council (ICMR) to determine the extent of virus spread revealed that India’s infection fatality rate (IFR) remained low at 0.08 percent. Compared with previous infection fatality rates, such as 34% for Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), 9.7% for Extreme Acute Respiratory Syndrome ( SARS), 2.5% for Spanish Flu 1918, or 1.3% for H1N1 2009/10 (swine flu), this seems meager. This explains the low number of COVID-19.

The low fatality rate in India is associated with the seropositivity of the population. Seropositivity means the presence of antibodies or other immune markers in the blood. Surveys by various civic corporations and some of the best research organizations in the country (TIFR, IISER) at the city level indicated that one in four Indians may have antibodies to combat the novel coronavirus, according to Covid-19 tests conducted by a national private laboratory. Pune recorded more than 50 percent seropositivity in some pockets on Monday, Mumbai recorded 57 percent positive in Delhi’s first slum area survey showed 23 percent of those surveyed were seropositive.

Thyrocare lab’s countrywide antibody tests display high levels of positivity at the local level. Managing director Arokiaswamy Velumani said that approximately 24 percent of the two-lakh plus people screened across the country have COVID-19 antibodies so far. Approximately 29 percent of the population is measured by Delhi, and 20 percent in Maharashtra. For example, after being the worst hotspot in the country in April-May, Dharavi in Mumbai has reported near-zero single-digit) transmission over the last two months.

Even though there have been significantly less COVID-19 deaths in India due to these factors, the organizations are still not sure if this is short-term or long-term immunity. It also means that they are not sure if it could lead to her immunity or not because 60-70% of the population should have antibodies. But some of the experts believe that Indian localities in the suburbs are closer to herd immunity than its global counterparts.   COVID-19 deaths in India