There are two ways to fudge the actual number of Covid cases. The first, more obvious way is to reduce the number of tests being conducted, as Donald Trump repeatedly suggested. The second, less obvious and more insidious way is to increase the number of Antigen tests and reduce the number of PCR tests.
As we all know, Antigen tests do not detect the Covid virus as well as PCR tests. In fact, the separate data, published by only a few states, on PCR vs Antigen test results, shows that PCR tests have a positivity rate that is 2.5 to 3.5 times higher than Antigen tests (for example, in Delhi the positivity rate for PCR tests is 14% while the positivity rate for Antigen tests is 4%).
From 100% PCR tests at the very start of the pandemic, India is now down to less than 60% PCR tests – while Antigen tests have risen sharply from a negligible number to now almost 5.5 crores, which accounts for over 40% of total tests. And, every week, there is a continuous rising trend of Antigen testing.
1. SIGNS OF POOR TESTING
This table clearly shows the good, the bad and the ugly states. Bihar, Telangana, Gujarat, Delhi and UP are India’s 5 worst states with less than 50% PCR tests. Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan are excellent with 100% PCR tests.
2. UNDER-REPORTING OF COVID CASES
States with a high level of Antigen testing are likely to miss a large number of positive cases. Once again, Bihar – especially during the run up to elections – was the worst state in India in under-reporting Covid cases. The true number of Covid cases in Bihar was an outrageous 132% of the officially reported cases. Telangana and Gujarat have also grossly under-reported the Covid pandemic in their states.
3. MASSIVE NUMBER OF COVID CASES NOT REPORTED
But what do these percentages mean in actual numbers?
India has not reported 3.4 million Covid cases because of the deliberate increase in the use of the unreliable Antigen tests.
The official number of Covid cases in any state depends of course on the population of each state, how badly Covid has spread in the State, all tempered by the extent of Antigen testing in that state.
Maharashtra and Delhi have the highest actual numbers of missing Covid cases – together missing over 10 lakh Covid cases.
Once again Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan are the two most responsible and honest reporting states, along with Punjab – accurately measuring and reporting on the number of Covid cases in their states.
4. STATES RANKED BY GENUINE TESTING LEVELS
The true ranking of any state in how well it is testing its population is the number of PCR tests being conducted.
Tamil Nadu stands out far above the rest of India – it is the only state to have conducted over 1 crore PCR tests, also reflecting the highest number of tests per head of population with nearly 1,400 tests per ten thousand of its citizens. Karnataka is the second-best state with over 13,00 PCR tests per ten thousand citizens.
Bihar, Telangana and Gujarat are the worst in the numbers of PCR tests per head of their population.
Overall, India is not using PCR tests enough – only 550 of every 10,000 citizens of India are being tested using PCR.
5. STATES UNDERESTIMATING THEIR TRUE POSITIVITY RATE
The official figures on India’s positivity rate are misleading. The true positivity rate is much higher. Once again, the PCR tests reveal the truth.
For the country as a whole, the true positivity rate is nearly 140% of the officially declared rate (for example, just to be clear, the official positivity rate for all-India is 6.9%, while the true positivity rate is 9.6% i.e. 9.6% is 139% of 6.9%).