Poor hygiene, unsanitary conditions could lead to fewer deaths due to Covid-19: Study
The study seems to support the hygiene hypothesis wherein improved immunity is said to be behind people developing a less severe form of the viral disease.Updated: Oct 28, 2020, 14:37 IST
Poor hygiene, unsanitary conditions, and lack of clean drinking water could result in fewer deaths due to coronavirus disease (Covid-19), a new study by Indian researchers suggests.
The study by researchers from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), National Centre for Cell Science, Pune, and the Chennai Mathematical Institute, seems to support the hygiene hypothesis wherein improved immunity is said to be behind people developing a less severe form of the viral disease.
Bihar, which faces issues like a lack of clean drinking water facilities, has the Covid-19 case fatality rate (CFR) of 0.5%, as opposed to 1.5% nationally.
CFR is defined as the number of deaths due to a particular disease as compared to the number of people suffering from it.
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Kerala and Assam have a CFR of 0.4%, Telangana 0.5, and Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh 0.9%. CFR of 1% or less is what the Central government is also targeting nationally.
In contrast, the researchers’ have highlighted that more developed states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Punjab have a CFR of 2% or more.
Various developmental parameters were looked at as part of the study that includes quality of water and sanitation, and Covid-19 deaths per million population in at least 100 countries. The researchers found that the poorer the water-sanitation quality, the fewer were deaths per million population due to the viral disease as these conditions impacted a person’s overall immunity.
Several experts have also been saying that there could be a correlation between lower Covid-19 fatality rate and improved immunity due to the living conditions as a person gets exposed to a variety of disease-causing microbes.
“In India, the severity of infection seems to be low because our immunity levels are better modulated to fight off any infections as compared to Europeans and Americans. In fact, other viruses kill more. However, the infectivity rate of this virus is quite high so infections could go up in the future. Deaths will remain low,” said Dr NK Mehra, former head, transplant, immunology and immunogenetics, All India Institute of Medical Science, Delhi.