- Sputnik International, 1920, 24.01.2023
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India Releases Its 2020 Death Data in Advance, Rejects 'Absurd Overestimation' of COVID Mortalities

© AFP 2023 / MONEY SHARMAA girl walks past a poster at a vaccination centre in New Delhi on April 10, 2022
A girl walks past a poster at a vaccination centre in New Delhi on April 10, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.05.2022
While countries around the world reported 1.83 million COVID-related deaths in 2020, the WHO has reportedly claimed that the figure is to the tune of three million. India has suffered the third highest number of COVID mortalities, behind the US and Brazil, largely on account of a devastating second wave that afflicted the nation last year.
New Delhi has published an official report detailing the number of deaths and births that took place in the South Asian nation in 2020, a move that the Indian government believes will put to rest speculation around “absurd overestimation” of COVID-related mortalities in the country.
The official report was originally scheduled to be released later this year.

“There is a public narrative in the media based on various modelling estimates, that India's COVID-19 deaths are many times the reported figure. That’s not the case", Dr Vinod K. Paul, the head of India’s federal Task Force for COVID-19 Response, told the state broadcaster on Tuesday.

Dr Paul, a member of government-linked think tank NITI Aayog, also cautioned global experts to be “careful” in accusing New Delhi’s federal estimates of under representing the mortality rate during the COVID pandemic.

According to the Civil Registration System 2020 (CRS) report, published by the Office of the Registrar General of India (ORGI), there were a total of 8,115,882 (approx. 8.1 million) deaths in the country in 2020.

The statistics mark a slight increase over the mortalities in 2019, when 7,641,076 (approx. 7.6 million) people died due to various causes in India.
India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), however, has stated that of the total deaths recorded in 2020, only 148,738 were COVID-related.
Overall, the MoHFW says that around 523,000 COVID-deaths have been reported in the country since the first infection was detected on 30 January 2020.
Dr Paul has clarified that the mortality data for 2021 will also be released by the government in the coming months.

In releasing its mortality numbers, New Delhi has sought to pre-empt a COVID mortality report by the World Health Organisation, which is scheduled to be made public on Thursday.

The leaked findings of the report, published in The New York Times last month, claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has under reported the country’s COVID toll.
The NYT report claims that more than four million people have died of COVID in India, almost eight times more than the official COVID-related death toll

India has officially rejected the report, raising questions about the “one-size-fits-all” methodology adopted in arriving at the COVID-related death toll.

In a statement posted by the MoHFW on 16 April, New Delhi also claimed that it had shared its “concerns” about the report’s methodology with the WHO through six letters between last November and March this year.
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