TrialSiteNews gives the answer in article An Unlikely Nation Is Kicking This Pandemic. Guess Which. Then Why. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
She is a gynecologist. He is a surgeon. They are married and both 77 years old.
In mid-November, they were diagnosed with COVID-19, first her, then him. Their paths diverge at this point, but not to worry.
She took the drug hydroxychloroquine. He took ivermectin. They are both well now – walking, golfing, doing yoga — seven weeks later.
The couple’s brush with COVID might have ended very differently. In the United States, patients 75 to 84 years old die at 220 times the rate of adults under 30. But these two elderly, otherwise healthy physicians live in India. They were able to get early home treatment that is virtually, and unconscionably, unheard of in many western countries.
“Without any treatment, we know that the virus enters the cells and replicates there,” Dr. Makarand Paranjpe told me by phone from his home in Pune, where he had quarantined through a fever and other symptoms. “They can create disease that gets much more severe.” Which, of course, is the point of treating early. Stop the progression. ASAP.
From the outset, India, a nation of both economic vigor and poverty, knew it had to act decisively. It did. India locked down early and long; it promoted masks, tested millions, and, as with the Pune couple, treated the infected early.
Ten months into its battle with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, India is on track to become an unexpected warrior in the fight against this global pandemic. Although the densely populated nation has four times the population of the U.S., India has less than half the U.S. COVID deaths. And India isn’t just beating the poorly performing U.S. In all, 98 nations have higher death rates than India.
It may be tempting to attribute this startling news to imperfect data from a developing country. But doctors in India, Indian press reports, and even the Wall Street Journal have taken note of a sea change in COVID there. “In September, India was reporting almost 100,000 COVID-19 cases a day, with many predicting it would soon pass the U.S. in overall cases,” the WSJ wrote on Dec. 30. “Instead, its infections dropped and are now at one-fourth that level.”
Dr. Anil K. Chaurasia, a physician in Lucknow, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, watched this trend unfold. Starting about mid-September, “a clear decline in COVID cases and fatalities in India was noticeable,” he told me in a text message. The “steep decline in cases and fatalities is still continuing.”
Like a lot of western reporting, the WSJ article held fast to an accepted COVID theme. The Indian miracle was due to masks, it asserted, since they are worn by 88 to 95 percent of a population “bombarded” with public-service reminders. The article cited German research that showed masks work.
Fair enough. However, many factors are likely at play in India, including its painful yet supported national shutdown and individual state efforts at contact tracing and testing. But a pivotal role in any illness is surely the availability of treatments to resolve illness before crisis.
Late last March, as the U.S. argued over the merits of Trump-endorsed hydroxychloroquine and studies failed in late-stage patients, India decided to recommend the drug in its national guidelines. HCQ “should be used as early in the disease course as possible…and should be avoided in patients with severe disease,” the directives wisely state. As a precaution, authorities suggested an EKG to monitor for a rare heart arrhythmia that several COVID studies have since shown to be minimal.
But a crucial turn for India may have come in August when the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh recommended use of another drug: Ivermectin, which is coming on fast as a leading COVID treatment — without the baggage of at-turns effective but vilified hydroxychloroquine.
This was no small move. Were it a country, U.P.’s more than 230 million citizens would rank it fifth worldwide. As India’s largest state, its embrace of ivermectin may have changed the treatment landscape across India.
“This authentication of ivermectin revived the faith of people,” Dr. Chaurasia told me, “and net result was a massive inclination to take these drugs” — both ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.
By the end of 2020, Uttar Pradesh — which distributed free ivermectin for home care — had the second-lowest fatality rate in India at 0.26 per 100,000 residents in December. Only the state of Bihar, with 128 million residents, was lower, and it, too, recommends ivermectin.
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