Is India’s Total COVID Count missing Women?

In India, there’s a popular belief that women are less likely to be affected by COVID-19 as compared to men. But does the evidence suggest otherwise?

According to a serosurvey that was conducted in Delhi, the result showed that the prevalence of infections was higher among women. In addition to this serosurveys conducted in Mumbai and Ahmedabad have shown similar findings. The reason behind fewer women being included in the official case count could be that fewer women are being tested or they might not be developing serious enough symptoms to warrant testing. 

Traditionally, women have had limited access to healthcare and this could be the rationale behind the less number of women being tested. 

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in its publication stated that while men made up the majority of positive cases, women were more slightly likely to test positive than they were to be tested. Even during normal times, women’s death statistics have not been properly recorded. In 2018, women accounted for 40% of total registered deaths and just 38% of medically certified deaths, according to the data from the Registrar General of India. According to estimates from the Global Burden of Disease Study, women made up 47% of all deaths in 2016 which pointed out that the ratio of missing women in official death counts was significant.  

The above data may be an indication of the fact that the real COVID count could be much higher than what is currently reflected in the official data.