The much-awaited report released by the World Health Organisation reveals that the estimated death rates during the pandemic in two years in India is nearly 10 times higher than the rest of the world. The tally refers to the country’s official Covid -19 toll. The reports claimed by WHO has created a havoc regarding the death toll rates. As per WHO tally 4.7 million Covid deaths have been in India, which is above the normal.
The Union Minister claimed the data released by the WHO statically unsound and scientifically questionable. Dr NK Arora, chief of India’s Covid Working Group, said that while there can be a 10-20% discrepancy, India’s robust and accurate death registration system (known as Civil Registration System, or CRS) ensures that a majority of virus-related deaths are covered.
In a report released onThursday, WHO said between January 2020 and December 2021, there were 4.7 million “excess” Covid deaths in India — the maximum number that’s 10 times the official figures and almost a third of Covid deaths globally. The global figure, according to the report, was 15 million — more than double the official figure of 6 million.
Excess mortality is calculated as the difference between the number of deaths that have occurred and the number that would be expected in the absence of the pandemic based on data from earlier years. It includes deaths associated with Covid-19 directly due to the disease or indirectly due to the pandemic impact on health systems and society.
Deaths linked indirectly to Covid-19 are attributable to other health conditions for which people were unable to access prevention and treatment because health systems were overburdened by the pandemic. The estimated number of excess deaths can be influenced also by deaths averted during the pandemic due to lower risks of certain events, like vehicle accidents or occupational injuries.
Some 68% of excess deaths are concentrated in just 10 countries globally, with India topping the list with 4.74 million followed by Russia and Indonesia, both having more than a million excess deaths each. Other countries in the top ten list are Brazil, Egypt, Mexico, Peru, South Africa, Turkey, and the USA.
The estimates have been made using a modelling exercise overseen by a technical expert group of over 40 top scholars from all over the world along with consultation with the member countries. “These new estimates use the best available data and have have been produced using a robust methodology and a completely transparent approach,” said Samira Asma, Assistant Director-General for Data, Analytics and Delivery, at the WHO. “Knowing how many people died in the pandemic will help us prepare better for the future… But most importantly, we need to honour the lives lost and we must hold our policymakers accountable,” she noted.