WHO claims 4.7M Covid deaths in India; govt slams report

Geneva: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday said that 14.9 million people were killed either by Covid-19 directly or due to the pandemic’s impact on health systems and society, with the global health agency estimating that India had 4.7 million fatalities.

India strongly objected to the use of mathematical models by the WHO for projecting excess mortality estimates linked to the coronavirus pandemic in view of the availability of authentic data, saying the validity and robustness of the models used and the methodology of data collection are questionable.

“India had informed WHO that in view of the availability of authentic data published through Civil Registration System (CRS) by Registrar General of India (RGI), mathematical models should not be used for projecting excess mortality numbers for India,” the government said.

The WHO has calculated excess mortality as the difference between deaths that have occurred and the number that would be expected in the absence of the pandemic, based on data from earlier years.

WHO estimates are nearly 10 times higher than the country’s official count of 4.84 lakh Covid-19 fatalities in two years. Globally, more than twice as many people have died as a result of Covid-19 as the official data shows, according to a new WHO report which pegged 14.9 million excess deaths associated with Covid-19 by the end of 2021. The numbers reported by countries added up to 6 million.

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