Profectus Magazine

WHO estimates 4.7 million excess COVID deaths, India questions the model used

By : Profectus Magazine   /   05 May 2022  /   News and Updates /   Latest News

The World Health Organization is again in for a series of questions about their COVID approach as they released a new estimate of the death toll during the pandemic. In this estimate, they claimed a number almost three times more than the officially worldwide data. WHO on Thursday said that between 1st January 2020 and 31st December 2021, India recorded 4.7 million excess deaths.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO said in a statement, ‘These sobering data not only point to the impact of the pandemic but also to the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems.’

The global health body estimated India for having recorded 4.7 million deaths due to the pandemic while the actual number by Indian officials was about 520000. India was in a major lockdown for most of the months of 2020 starting from March. The highest number of people who succumbed to the virus was recorded during the peak of the second wave last year at about 2.7 million.

According to the estimate by the global health body, most of the excess deaths about 84% were concentrated in Europe, the USA, and South-East Asia. While around 68% of excess deaths were concentrated just in 10 countries.

Excess death or mortality according to WHO is the calculated difference between the number of deaths in the pandemic and the number that was expected in the absence of the pandemic based on previous years' data.

Tedros further said that ‘WHO is committed to working with all countries to strengthen their health information systems to generate better data for better decisions and better outcomes.’

A strong objection was expressed by the Union Government regarding the number shared by WHO. In its rebuttal statement centre questioned the validity and robustness of the models used as well as the methodology of data collection used by WHO.

However WHO didn’t address India’s objection and released the excess mortality estimate. The statement further said that the country had informed the global health body about the authentic available data which was published via the Civil Registration System (CRS) by the RGI (Register General of India.)

The statement further read, Registration of births and deaths in India is extremely robust and is governed by decade’s old statutory legal framework.’ Dr. VK Paul, a member of India’s response to COVID-19 said that ‘there was no need to resort to models to arrive at the death toll when actual numbers are available.’

More about the new estimate said in a period of 24 months out of 14.9 million excess deaths about 81% were recorded in Middle-income countries. While high and low-income countries accounted for 15% and 4% each.

India’s official death toll till 3rd May is 5, 22,676 which is about 4.1 million less than what WHO estimated.


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