9 August 2022

India disputes WHO’s claim of 4.7 million Covid-related deaths

India has strongly disputed and objected to World Health Organisation’s estimate of 4.7 million (47.4 lakh) Covid-related deaths in their country in 2020 and 2021.

In a report released yesterday(Thursday), the WHO has estimated that there were nearly 15 million deaths either by the coronavirus or by its impact on overwhelmed health systems in the past two years, nearly three higher than recorded officially by countries.

According to this report, this death count of 4.7 million is nearly 10 times the official government figures and almost a third of Covid deaths globally.

In a statement, the Indian Government has, however, questioned the WHO excess death calculation model of “one-size-fits-all” model as statistically unsound and scientifically questionable.

India disputes WHO figures (Source: WHO, period Jan 2020 to 2 May 2022)

Use of “one-size-fits-all” approach and model, which may be applicable to smaller countries was not suitable for a country of its size that has but cannot be applicable to India due to its large area, diversity and a population of 1.3 billion.

“India has been consistently objecting to the methodology adopted by the WHO to project excess mortality estimates based on mathematical models… In view of the availability of authentic data published through Civil Registration System (CRS) by Registrar General of India (RGI), mathematical models should not be used for projecting excess mortality numbers for India.”

Expressing their disappointment that WHO chose to ignore the data provided, the statement said “despite objections, the WHO has released the excess mortality estimates without adequately addressing India’s concerns.”

The high-income countries account for 15 per cent of these deaths, upper middle income countries 28 per cent, lower middle income countries 53 per cent, and low income countries 4 per cent, as per the WHO report.