Fact check: Myths and misinformation about India's Covid outbreak
May 4, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 19.3%. 2 min read.
Misconceptions about Covid-19 have spread in India and beyond, and some have been accepted as truth. Here's our fact check of some common myths.
Doctors in India have anecdotally reported seeing more young people presenting with Covid-19 symptoms.
Fact check: Government statistics show young people are not being any worse hit during the second wave than they were in the first.
During the first wave, about 31% of patients were aged below 30, said V K Paul, the chairman of India's Covid task force, at a press conference on April 19.
Dr. Chandrasekhar Singha, a senior lead consultant in pediatric critical care at Madhukar Rainbow Children's Hospital in New Delhi, said he is seeing more children infected during the second wave than the first.
That has raised public concern that India's vaccines might not be as effective against the new variant that was identified in late March, as the second wave accelerated.
Of the 1. 7 million people fully vaccinated with India's homegrown Covaxin vaccine, 695 have tested positive for Covid, said the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in April.
So far, just over 2% of India's 1. 3 billion people have been fully immunized with one of two vaccines -- significantly lower than the United States, where 30% of the population are fully immunized.
Fact check: While vaccines offer individuals some degree of protection, India likely would have seen a huge increase in cases anyway due to the phased nature of its vaccination program, said Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton's Clinical Informatics Research Unit.
Like most other countries, India vaccinated its most vulnerable citizens first, including the elderly and frontline health care workers.
But young, fit people who can travel appear to be the biggest spreaders of Covid, he said -- "and they would probably be the lowest priority in terms of vaccination. "
To date, the government has purchased at least 205. 5 million doses, according to data from the Duke Global Health Innovation Center -- placing India in the top 10 Covid-19 vaccine buyers in the world.
Fact check: Several areas in New Delhi have reported unhealthy levels of air pollution during the second wave, and it's plausible that the cremations are affecting air quality.
But concerns about the health risks have risen during the pandemic, with experts warning that pollution could put people at higher risk of severe Covid infection and increase the strain on public health.