Decoding India's Low Covid-19 Case Fatality Rate
29 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2020 Last revised: 6 Mar 2022
Date Written: August 2020
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.
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