COVID-19 death toll in India 10 times higher than government estimate: research

Municipal workers barricade a a contaminated zone as a preventive measure against the spread of Covid-19
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The coronavirus death toll in India is likely 10 times higher than government estimates, according to new research.

The report released Tuesday by the Center for Global Development along with India’s former chief economic adviser, Arvind Subramanian, shows there were an estimated 3.4 million to 4.9 million coronavirus-related deaths between January of last year and June of this year.

According to the government’s current estimates, however, India has had more than 414,000 deaths. Officials have also rejected suggestions the actual death toll is vastly greater.

“True deaths are likely to be in the several millions not hundreds of thousands, making this arguably India’s worst human tragedy since Partition and independence,” the new report says.

“What is tragically clear is that too many people, in the millions rather than hundreds of thousands, may have died,” the authors added.

The report used multiple calculation methods, including taking excess deaths compared to mortality in previous years.

“We focus on all-cause mortality, and estimate excess mortality relative to a pre-pandemic baseline, adjusting for seasonality,” the authors state.

India was hit hard by the coronavirus this year, breaking global daily coronavirus cases and deaths multiple days in a row. The increase in cases was attributed to the highly contagious delta variant and eased restrictions in the country.

India’s high case count is coupled with a slow vaccination rollout in a country with more than 1 billion people.

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