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Researchers say India’s COVID-19 deaths are ten times higher than officially reported

The death toll from coronavirus reported in India since the onset of the pandemic is incorrect, according to a US research group. The Center for Global Development study estimates that India’s COVID deaths are 10 times higher than the reported 415,000+ deaths.

The study examined data from the beginning of the pandemic until June of this year and concluded that between 3.4 million and 4.7 million people died from the virus. The researchers said it was the worst human tragedy in India since partition and independence.

The second wave of COVID-19, caused by the Delta variant, wreaked havoc in the world’s second most populous country. In late April and early May, India saw more than four lakh COVID-19 cases per day. The total number of COVID-19 cases in India has risen to 3,12,57,720, with 41,383 new infections recorded in the last 24 hours.

India reported 507 new COVID-19 fatalities, raising the total number of deaths to 4,18,987, the third-highest in the world after the United States’ 609,000 and Brazil’s 542,000.

Researchers have been throwing doubt on India’s death toll for months, blaming the country’s overburdened health service. They say several Indian states have revised their tolls in recent weeks, adding thousands of “backlog” deaths.

The research report was based on estimating excess mortality (the number of extra people who died compared to pre-crisis figures) and partly on analysing death records in various states as well as a recurring national economic study.

A researcher at Harvard University said: “All estimates suggest that the death toll from the pandemic is likely to be an order of magnitude greater than the official count.”

According to Christophe Guilmoto, an expert in Indian demography at France’s Research Institute for Development, only one coronavirus death in every seven was recorded.

A study by the US-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that India’s COVID mortality is over 1.25 million.

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