Policymakers may feel the risk from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic more acutely in India than in other key countries afflicted by the outbreak. The World Bank data shows that the proportion of people dying from communicable diseases as well as causes related to pregnancy-related and nutritional deficiencies. India has historically had more such deaths than the rest of the world.
In fact, it is also higher than the top three countries in terms of COVID-19 cases (as of Tuesday). China, Italy, and Iran all had lower instances of such deaths (see chart 1). The risk of such diseases may be higher in India is also borne out by the trend is seen in the case of non-communicable diseases. India has far fewer deaths attributable to non-communicable diseases than the rest of the world (see chart 2). Non-communicable diseases include ones like cancer and diabetes.
The number of positive cases in India rose to 151 on Wednesday.