But four months later, India’s coronavirus numbers have plummeted. Late last month, on Jan. 26, the country’s Health Ministry confirmed a record low of about 9,100 new daily cases — in a country of nearly 1.4 billion people. It was India’s lowest daily tally in eight months. On Monday, India confirmed about 11,000 cases.
“It’s not that India is testing less or things are going underreported,” says Jishnu Das, a health economist at Georgetown University. “It’s been rising, rising — and now suddenly, it’s vanished! I mean, hospital ICU utilization has gone down. Every indicator says the numbers are down.”
Scientists say it’s a mystery. They’re probing why India’s coronavirus numbers have declined so dramatically — and so suddenly, in September and October, months before any vaccinations began. They’re trying to figure out what Indians may be doing right and how to mimic that in other countries that are still suffering.