Crudely, because of its massive 1.4 billion population, India is setting record infection totals but it’s the ratio that matters. England had many more cases than Iceland but it also has far more hospitals to treat them.
India’s infection rate, per 100 000 people, as you can see in the graph below, is not that high, well below France, Turkey and Cyprus at the moment or England back in January and the rate of increase is less steep than France in October or England in December.
The death rate, equally, is not as high per 100 000 people, as in France or Turkey and far below that in January, in England, France or Scotland.
So why do things seem so bad in India compared to what we saw in the UK in December and January?
First, India’s deeply unequal, hyper-capitalist society does not care for its poor so that even the relatively low rate of infection overwhelms the system. The rich have already fled to Dubai.
Second, the true horror of what happened here was hidden in care homes and off-screen. In India, our media have free rein to follow the smell of death.