Prevalence of COVID-19 in Rural Versus Urban Areas in a Low-Income Country: Findings from a State-Wide Study in Karnataka, India

20 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2021

See all articles by Manoj Mohanan

Manoj Mohanan

Duke University - Sanford School of Public Policy; Duke University - Department of Economics

Anup Malani

University of Chicago - Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine; Resources for the Future

Kaushik Krishnan

Independent

Anu Acharya

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: July 28, 2021

Abstract

Although the vast majority of confirmed cases of COVID-19 are in low- and middle-income countries, there are relatively few published studies on the epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 in these countries. The few there are focus on disease prevalence in urban areas. We conducted state-wide surveillance for COVID-19, in both rural and urban areas of Karnataka between June 15-August 29, 2020. We tested for both viral RNA and antibodies targeting the receptor binding domain (RBD). Adjusted seroprevalence across Karnataka was 46.7% (95% CI: 43.3-50.0), including 44.1% (95% CI: 40.0-48.2) in rural and 53.8% (95% CI: 48.4-59.2) in urban areas. The proportion of those testing positive on RT-PCR, ranged from 1.5 to 7.7% in rural areas and 4.0 to 10.5% in urban areas, suggesting a rapidly growing epidemic. The relatively high prevalence in rural areas is consistent with the higher level of mobility measured in rural areas, perhaps because of agricultural activity. Overall seroprevalence in the state implies that by August at least 31.5 million residents had been infected by August, nearly an order of magnitude larger than confirmed cases. 

Suggested Citation

Mohanan, Manoj and Malani, Anup and Krishnan, Kaushik and Acharya, Anu, Prevalence of COVID-19 in Rural Versus Urban Areas in a Low-Income Country: Findings from a State-Wide Study in Karnataka, India (July 28, 2021). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2021-92, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3894709 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3894709

Manoj Mohanan

Duke University - Sanford School of Public Policy ( email )

201 Science Drive
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Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Anup Malani (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

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Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-9602 (Phone)
773-702-0730 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/malani/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine

Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Resources for the Future

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Washington, DC 20036
United States

Kaushik Krishnan

Independent

Anu Acharya

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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