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Questionable Testing Belies India’s Drop in Covid Infections

  • Testing details from several states in the country are opaque
  • Rapid antigen tests have been increasingly deployed in India
A medical worker collects a swab sample from a passenger for a RT-PCR test in New Delhi on Thursday.
A medical worker collects a swab sample from a passenger for a RT-PCR test in New Delhi on Thursday.Photographer: Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images

India’s daily coronavirus infections have been cut in half since a peak of more than 97,000 in mid-September, but the significant drop has raised fresh questions over the South Asian nation’s testing regime and whether it reflects the true state of its epidemic.

As the country on Thursday surpassed the grim milestone of 9 million total infections, the official daily numbers appear to show a marked slowdown in the spread of the disease. Once poised to overtake the U.S. as the nation with the highest caseload, India for weeks has been reporting fewer than 50,000 new cases a day, while infections are skyrocketing across America.