'Ill-informed & speculative': Centre rubbishes research claiming COVID mortality higher than official counts

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Thursday, February 17, 2022, 05:25 PM IST
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'Ill-informed & speculative': Centre rubbishes research claiming COVID mortality higher than official counts | AFP

The Centre on Thursday rubbished a research which claimed the COVID-19 mortality in India is higher than the official count.

Saying that the reports are ill-informed and speculative, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in a release said, "India has a robust system of reporting deaths including COVID-19 deaths that is compiled regularly at different levels of governance starting from the Gram Panchayat level to the District-level and State level. The reporting of deaths is regularly done in a transparent manner. All deaths are compiled by the Centre after being independently reported by States. Based on globally acceptable categorization, Government of India has a comprehensive definition to classify COVID deaths which has been shared with the States and the States are following it."

"Furthermore, Government of India has been urging States to update their mortality numbers in case if certain deaths are not reported in time at the field level, and hence remains completely dedicated in getting the correct picture of the pandemic related deaths. Government of India has urged States and UTs through several formal communications, multiple video conferences and through deployment of many Central teams for correct recording of deaths in accordance with the prescribed guidelines. Union Health Ministry has also regularly emphasized the need for a robust reporting mechanism for monitoring district wise cases and deaths on a daily basis. Therefore, to project that COVID deaths have been under-reported is without basis and devoid of justification," it added.

The research paper published by French demographer Christophe Guilmoto had estimated that 32-37 lakh people died from COVID-19 by early Nov 2021 in the country, as compared to official figures of Nov 2021 which stood at 4.6 lakh.

The study had taken four distinct subpopulations including Kerala, Railways employees, MPs and MLAs as well as school teachers from Karnataka to estimate the nationwide deaths through a triangulation process.

Meanwhile, rubbishing the research, the Centre said, "Any such projections based on limited data sets and certain specific assumptions must be treated with extreme care before extrapolating the numbers by putting all states and country of the size of India in a single envelope. This exercise runs the risk of mapping skewed data of outliers together and is bound to give wrong estimations thereby leading to fallacious conclusions. The sheer justification that the study has credence since its findings/estimates are in convergence with another study is baffling, defies logic and highlights the bias with which the article has been written.

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