Reports on COVID-19 related deaths are an audacious assumption says Govt
New Delhi, July 22: The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued a statement on international media reports relating to the COVID-19 death toll in India.
The ministry said that these reports are an audacious assumption.
"There have been some recent media reports alleging that India's toll of excess deaths during the pandemic could be in millions, terming the official COVID-19 death toll as 'vastly undercounted'. In these news reports quoting findings from some recent studies, US & European countries' age-specific infection fatality rates have been used to calculate excess deaths in India based on the sero-positivity," the ministry said in a release.
"The sero-prevalence studies are not only used to guide strategy and measures to further prevent the spread of infection to the vulnerable population but are also used as another basis to extrapolate deaths. The studies also have another potential concern that the antibody titers may diminish over time, leading to underestimation of true prevalence and corresponding overestimation of Infection Fatality Rate.
Further, the reports assume that all the excess mortality figures are COVID deaths, which is not based on facts and totally fallacious. Excess mortality is a term used to describe an all-cause mortality figure and attributing these deaths to COVID-19 is completely misleading," the ministry also said.
India has a "robust" death registration system, and while some cases could go undetected, missing out on the deaths is unlikely. "This could also be seen in the case fatality rate, which, as on 31st December 2020, stood at 1.45% and even after an unexpected surge observed in the second wave in April-May 2021, the case fatality rate today stands at 1.34%. Moreover, the reporting of daily new cases and deaths in India follows a bottom-up approach, where districts report the number of cases and deaths to the state governments and to the Union Ministry on a regular basis," the ministry also said.
India’s COVID-19 related deaths are largely uncounted for
India has a robust death registration system