India opposes WHO Covid-19 death data

India believes that the data on 4 million people because of Covid-19 in the country in the upcoming WHO study is based on an unreliable model.

The New York Times on April 16 cited unpublished data from the World Health Organization (WHO) showing that globally, about 15 million deaths related to Covid-19 by the end of 2021, higher than twice that of official figures reported by countries.

According to the article, this report provides the most comprehensive look at the number of deaths from Covid-19, the result of more than a year of research and analysis by experts around the world. However, the WHO has not been able to publish the report for many months because of objections from India over how to calculate the number of deaths in the country.

WHO estimates the death toll from Covid-19 in India at at least 4 million, almost eight times more than officially published data. This figure is said to be comparable to data in the Lancet medical journal last month and a February study in the journal Science that at least 3.2 million people have died from Covid-19 in the South Asian country.

Indian health workers carry firewood to the crematorium of Covid-19 victims in New Delhi in April 2021.  Photo: Reuters.

Indian medical staff carry firewood to the crematorium of Covid-19 victims in New Delhi in April 2021. Image: Reuters.

India’s Ministry of Health on April 16 issued a statement saying that the country does not object to the results of the study, but does not agree with the WHO’s calculation model of the pandemic, which New Delhi considers “questionable”. “statistically unproven”.

“How is the Covid-19 mortality model used in a country as large in terms of geography and population as India, and also applicable to other countries with smaller populations?” This set asks questions. According to the Indian Ministry of Health, the model that is true for small countries like Tunisia cannot be applied to a country with a population of 1.3 billion.

“WHO has not yet given a satisfactory answer,” the ministry stressed, adding that India, along with other countries such as China, Bangladesh, Iran and Syria, had raised specific queries on methodology. of the study as well as the use of informal data sets.

WHO has not yet commented on India’s response.

Indian officials have also disputed the methodology of studies published in the medical journals Lancet and Science, which showed that the number of deaths from Covid-19 in the country is much higher than the real number.

India last year experienced a terrible Covid-19 outbreak, with thousands of deaths every day, overloading hospitals and crematoriums. Official figures show that India now records more than 520,000 Covid-19 deaths nationwide, ranking third in the world, after the US and Brazil.

Huyen Le (Theo Hindustan Times, AFP)

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