According to Coronavirus (COVID-19) map, as of March 30th there are only 1,263 confirmed cases in India and 1,866 in Japan.

Meanwhile, there are already 142,000 in US, 9,661 in South Korea, and 41,000 in Iran.

Given that both India and Japan neighbour to China with large tourism traffic, in addition to huge population density, it seems highly unlikely for them to keep their number so low.

How reliable are these numbers?

  • There's also the matter of where on curve one is relative to the start of the infection/outbreak locally, i.e. imported index cases. There are 35K confirmed cases in India now (a month later) who.int/india/emergencies/novel-coronavirus-2019 "As of 1 May 2020 (8:00 AM), according to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), a total of 35043 COVID-19 cases." Whether India is truly successful or not in controlling this... we'll know about one more month from now. May 1, 2020 at 9:54

1 Answer 1


Yes but be careful

You're looking at 'confirmed cases' - this isn't a good comparitive measure of actual cases as each country has their own approach to testing. Japan and India have been noted for their limited testing.

Tests vs confirmed coronavirus cases

This site gives a useful graphic showing testing by country - what you're looking for really is the gradient there - once you flatten the graph to one dimension you loose that extra information thats needed to give context to the numbers you're looking at. You can see the US and South Korea are pretty high up on the number of cases tested.

  • Have you addressed the question? Why do you say these numbers are reliable?
    – Oddthinking
    Apr 1, 2020 at 15:31
  • @Oddthinking I'm addressing why the OP believes them to be unreliable, namely that they believe there would be more cases, based on a 'true' number of infections. The reality is that you're looking at test cases. I've also provided another source which agrees with the one linked. Apr 2, 2020 at 9:03

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