WHO estimates 4.7 million COVID-19-linked deaths in India

What is the News?

The World Health Organization(WHO) has released a report on the Covid-19 related deaths.

What does the WHO say on Covid linked deaths in India?
Source: The Hindu

Covid-19 could have killed as many as 47.4 lakh people in India in 2020 and 2021 either directly due to infection or through its indirect impact.

Note: Deaths indirectly linked to COVID-19 are attributable to other health conditions for which people were unable to access prevention and treatment because health systems were overburdened by the pandemic. 

Significance of this data: These are the highest deaths for any country and comprise nearly a third of the 15 million such deaths globally.

Moreover, India officially estimated only 4.8 lakh cumulative deaths linked to COVID-19 as of December 2021 which implies that the WHO estimate is nearly 10 times the government count. 

How did India respond to this WHO report?

India has raised objections to WHO’s findings. It has said that:

– WHO used its own ‘Global Health Estimate 2019’, which by name is an estimate.

– India objected to WHO taking a “one size fits all” approach for a country like India as it did not capture variations in test positivity and severity.

What does India’s Civil Registration System(CRS) Report say on Covid deaths?

According to Civil Registration System (CRS) data, the total number of deaths including Covid-19 fatalities registered during 2020 rose to 81.2 lakh, up 6% from 76.4 lakh in 2019. 

This means that around 4.75 lakh additional “all-cause” deaths were registered in India in 2020 as compared to 2019. On the other hand, WHO has estimated nearly 8.2 lakh excess deaths from all causes in 2020.

Note: CRS only counts deaths registered and doesn’t break down causes of death.

Source: The post is based on the article “WHO estimates 4.7 million COVID-19-linked deaths in India” published in The Hindu on 6th May 2022 

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