Decoding India's Low Covid-19 Case Fatality Rate

29 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2020

See all articles by Minu Philip

Minu Philip

New York University (NYU) - New York University

Debraj Ray

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics; Autonomous University of Barcelona - Instituto de Analisis Economico (CSIC)

S. Subramanian

Madras Institute of Development Studies

Date Written: August 2020

Abstract

India’s case fatality rate (CFR) under covid-19 is strikingly low, trending from 3% or more, to a current level of around 2.2%. The world average rate is far higher, at around 4%. Several observers have noted that this difference is at least partly due to India’s younger age distribution. In this paper, we use age-specific fatality rates from 14 comparison countries, coupled with India’s distribution of covid-19 cases to “predict" what India’s CFR would be with those age-specific rates. In most cases, those predictions are lower than India’s actual performance, suggesting that India’s CFR is, if anything, too high rather than too low. We supplement the prediction exercises with the application of a decomposition technique, and we additionally account for time lags between case incidence and death, for a more relevant cross-country perspective in the growth phase of the pandemic.

Suggested Citation

Philip, Minu and Ray, Debraj and Subramanian, S., Decoding India's Low Covid-19 Case Fatality Rate (August 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27696, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3675248

Minu Philip (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - New York University

Debraj Ray

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics ( email )

269 Mercer Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10003
United States
212-998-8906 (Phone)
212-995-4186 (Fax)

Autonomous University of Barcelona - Instituto de Analisis Economico (CSIC)

Campus UAB
E-08193 Bellaterra
Spain

S. Subramanian

Madras Institute of Development Studies ( email )

Chennai
India

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