Covid-19: A fourth of all deaths are in rural, semi-urban India

By: |
September 28, 2020 7:45 AM

Daily deaths in older hotspots like Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Pune are still growing faster than infections in the rest of the country.

In fact, rural and semi-urban regions accounted for 25% of India's total deaths on September 27, up from 20% a month ago and 13% on July 27.In fact, rural and semi-urban regions accounted for 25% of India's total deaths on September 27, up from 20% a month ago and 13% on July 27.

On Sunday, India reported a cumulative six million Covid-19 infections and, at 1,000 a day, the country could see deaths hitting a staggering one lakh by Thursday. India would become only the third country in the world to have lost over one lakh lives in the pandemic.

Daily deaths in older hotspots like Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Pune are still growing faster than infections in the rest of the country. On Sunday, Mumbai reported 23 deaths per thousand as compared to the national average of 12. The share of deaths in rural and semi-urban regions, however, is rising faster. Over the last month, while urban centres recorded a 1.5-times increase in deaths, rural and semi-urban districts doubled their death count.

In fact, rural and semi-urban regions accounted for 25% of India’s total deaths on September 27, up from 20% a month ago and 13% on July 27. Since then deaths in urban areas have increased 2.5-times, whereas in rural and semi-urban centres, they have increased 5.5-times.

More strikingly, the number of districts with over 100 deaths has increased drastically over the last two months. While India had only 45 districts with over 100 deaths on July 27, on Sunday, there were 156 such districts. Today, 244 districts have reported over 50 deaths.

There are now 15 rural districts with deaths of over 100 compared with just one on July 27. The government will need to ramp up its infrastructure if it is to address the growing number of infections in rural areas given the high death rate here.

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