COVID-19 underreporting: TS missed 42 cases for every positive case reported

Telangana has an underreporting factor of 42, which means the state missed 42 COVID-19 cases for every positive case it reported.

By Sumit Jha  Published on  31 July 2021 3:44 AM GMT
COVID-19 underreporting: TS missed 42 cases for every positive case reported

Hyderabad: According to the data submitted by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) to the Parliament, Telangana has an underreporting factor of 42, which means the state missed 42 COVID-19 cases for every positive case it reported.


For every positive case reported in India, 33 positive cases were missed. This number is calculated as per the fourth sero-survey data released by the ICMR earlier last week. The survey was conducted in the months of June and July 2021 in 20 states and one Union Territory.

The data show that the total reported cases in Telangana till 31 May was 5,78,351. However, as per the survey, the total estimated cases were around a whopping 2.43 crore.

All states and one Union Territory that were part of the survey underreported COVID-19 cases. Kerala, which is currently reporting more than 50 per cent cases in the country, has actually done a fairly decent job when it comes to counting cases. The underreporting factor for Kerala is 6. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh lead with 134 and 100, respectively. Apart from these two, four states - Madhya Pradesh (86), Jharkhand (70), Rajasthan (66), and Gujarat (59) – missed more than 50 cases for every case reported.

The sero-survey found that around 60.1 per cent of the Telangana population has developed antibodies against COVID-19. The fourth round of sero-prevalence study led by ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition (ICMR-NIN) in association with the Telangana state health department was conducted in Telangana in June 2021.

The survey was conducted in Jangaon, Nalgonda, and Kamareddy districts. The survey also included children in the age group of six to nine for the first time in the fourth phase. About 55 per cent of the children (6-9 years) were found to be sero-positive, while 61 per cent of adolescents had COVID-19 antibodies.

Among the healthcare workers, the sero-positivity was as high as 82.4 per cent. ICMR-NIN said a large chunk of it can also be attributed to early vaccination for frontline workers.

The ICMR strategy has been to do repeat cross-sectional sero-studies in the same geographic locations so that the infection transmission trends can be documented and studied. The first round of the sero-survey was conducted in May 2020 and the second and third rounds were conducted in August and December 2020 in the same districts. They showed a sero-prevalence of 0.33 per cent, 12.5 per cent, and 24.1 per cent, respectively.

Meanwhile, the sero-prevalence at the national level went up from 24 per cent in December 2020 to 67 per cent in June 2021. However, in Telangana it went up from 24.1 per cent to 60.1 per cent during the same time period.

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