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Report claiming India suffered 5-7 times more COVID deaths than official figures is 'unsound analysis': Govt

Reports claiming India suffered 5-7 times more COVID deaths than official figures is baseless: Govt (REUTERS)Premium
Reports claiming India suffered 5-7 times more COVID deaths than official figures is baseless: Govt (REUTERS)

  • Government said, It is a speculative article, which is without any basis and seems to be misinformed
  • It also said, in order to avoid any inconsistency regarding the number of COVID-related fatalities, the government follows ICMR guidelines as recommended by WHO

With an international magazine pointing that India has suffered perhaps five-to-seven times excess COVID deaths tha the official data, the Centre stated that the claims are completely baseless. It further stated that in order to avoid any inconsistency regarding the number of COVID-related fatalities, the government follows ICMR guidelines as recommended by WHO.

The Union Health Ministry said on Saturday in an official statement said, It is noted that a renowned international magazine in its article has speculated that ‘India has suffered perhaps five-to-seven times “excess deaths" than the official number of COVID-19 fatalities’. It is a speculative article, which is without any basis and seems to be misinformed."

"The unsound analysis of the said article is based on extrapolation of data without any epidemiological evidence. Studies which are used by the magazine as an estimate of excess mortality are not validated tools for determining mortality rate of any country or region," the statement further said

The so called “evidence" cited by the magazine is a study supposedly done by Christopher Laffler of Virginia Commonwealth University. An internet search of research studies in scientific database such Pubmed, Research Gate, etc., did not locate this study and the detailed methodology of this study has not been provided by the magazine, it also said.

Government follows ICMR guidelines for recording COVID deaths

Pointing out that the India government has been transparent in its approach to COVID data management, it said, it follows Indian Council of Medical Research's guidelines for recording COVID deaths as recommended by WHO.

"As early as May 2020, to avoid inconsistency in number of deaths being reported, Indian Council of Medical Research has issued ‘Guidance for appropriate recording of COVID-19 related deaths in India’ for correct recording of all deaths as per ICD-10 codes recommended by WHO for mortality coding."

"States and UTs have been urged through formal communications, multiple video conferences and through deployment of Central teams for correct recording of deaths in accordance with laid down guidelines," it said

Union Health Ministry has also regularly emphasized the need for a robust reporting mechanism for monitoring district wise cases and deaths on a daily basis. "States consistently reporting lower number of daily deaths were told to re-check their data. A case in point is the Union Government writing to the State of Bihar to provide detailed date and district wise break-up of the reconciled number of deaths to Union Health Ministry," it said in a statement.


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