WHO Estimate Of India Deaths “Preposterous, Untenable”: Covid Panel Chief


Chief of India’s Covid Working Group has said the World Health Organisation report of 4.7 million “excess” Covid deaths in India does not stand any “logic or fact”,

Calling the report “worrisome”, the NK Arora explained that while there can be a 10-20% discrepancy, India’s robust and accurate death registration system ensures that a majority of virus-related deaths are covered

In a report released on Thursday, WHO said between January 2020 and December 2021, there were 4.7 million “excess” Covid deaths in India. The global figure, according to the report, was 15 million — more than double the official figure of 6 million.

Asked if states could have failed to report deaths to the Centre, Arora said, “There was lag and you know after the Supreme Court ruling, every state has been reporting their backlog deaths which were missed out earlier, and now they are part of the current system. Many times the numbers in Kerala and other well-performing states, additional deaths have been added up to the overall numbers. India is a huge country, so there will be some missing, but not “10 times” as is being reported”.

“The other thing is if it was so much then people should have swamped us because the Indian definition of Covid is any deaths occurring within one month as diagnosed as Covid. But nothing like that has happened. Relatives of 40 lakh people have not come to claim compensation. So there are several inconsistencies in the WHO report,” he added.

NK Arora said that the WHO dismissed India’s data and relied on its own statistical models, despite India having trustworthy death registration systems.

“There may be missing of some deaths – 5-15 deaths since everything is not recorded, but the way WHO has put us in Tier 2 countries where no data is available is not right,” he said.

Countries categorized as Tier 2 include countries for which WHO does not have access to the complete data and thus requires the use of alternative data sources or the application of scaling factors to generate the national aggregate.

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