COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates: Saturday / Sunday, Jan. 8-9


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The call is coming from within the house country:

India, from the earliest days of the pandemic, has reported far fewer COVID-19 deaths than expected given the toll elsewhere—an apparent death “paradox” that some believed was real and others thought would prove illusory. Now, a prominent epidemiologist who contended the country really had been spared the worst of COVID-19 has led a rigorous new analysis of available mortality data and concluded he “got it wrong.” India has “substantially greater” COVID-19 deaths than official reports suggest, says Prabhat Jha of the University of Toronto— close to 3 million, which is more than six times higher than the government has acknowledged and the largest number of any country.

If true, the finding could prompt scrutiny of other countries with anomalously low death rates and push up the current worldwide pandemic total, estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO) at some 5.45 million people. “I think it does call for a recalibration of the global numbers plus saying, ‘What the heck is going on in India?’” says Jha, whose team published the new India analysis today in Science. And India’s suffering could be far from over—the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has begun to surge there.

At the end of 2021, India reported about 480,000 deaths from SARS-CoV-2 infections. That’s 340 COVID-19 deaths per million—about one-seventh the per capita COVID-19 mortality tallied in the United States. Jha’s own early analysis supported the assertion that India had an unusually low mortality rate from COVID-19, but he and his colleagues have now probed more deeply. They tapped data from an independent polling agency that surveyed nearly 140,000 people across the vast country by telephone, asking whether anyone in each household had died from COVID-19. They also analyzed government reports from hospitals and similar facilities and looked at officially registered deaths. The result: a much higher estimate—between 2300 and 2500 deaths per million by September 2021, comparable to the rate in the United States, which has one-third as many people…

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Caveat, extremely small sample sets, and (hopefully!) self-resolving, as it is in many adult Covid cases:

… The researchers found increases in diabetes in both data sets, though the relative rates were quite different: they found a 2.6-fold increase in new diabetes cases among children in one, and a smaller 30 percent increase in another.

“Even a 30 percent increase is a big increase in risk,” said Sharon Saydah, a researcher at the C.D.C. and lead author of the study. The differences likely result from different ways of classifying children as having Covid, she added.

Dr. Saydah said it was not yet clear whether post-Covid Type 2 diabetes would be a chronic condition in these children, or a transient condition that resolves. (Type 1 diabetes is not reversible.) Most of the children were only followed about four and a half months…

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