India Might Challenge WHO's COVID-19 'Excess Deaths Report'

© AP Photo / Anja NiedringhausWorld Health Organization logo on its headquarters in Geneva
World Health Organization logo on its headquarters in Geneva - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.05.2022
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday said as many as 4.74 million people had succumbed to COVID in India in 2020 and 2021. The WHO's figure was disputed by the Indian government as the number appeared to be almost ten times higher than the country's official COVID death toll at the end of 2021.
The Indian government will take the matter of the "excess COVID-19 death figure" reported by the WHO at the highest and appropriate forum, the Indian daily The Hindu reported, citing sources.
India on Thursday questioned the source of the data and methodology used in the WHO's report.
The WHO has said that about 830,000 deaths are estimated to have happened in 2020, alone. However, according to India's Civil Registration System (CRS), the country recorded 474,806 deaths as excess.
The CRS is a legal forum that registers death and birth data in India. It does not record cause-specific mortality. The CRS data for 2021 will be released next year.
As per the federal health ministry, India has until now reported 523,975 deaths due to COVID-19.
The Health Ministry officials said that they have written more than 10 times to the WHO since November 2021.
"The WHO had not given a satisfactory response to defend the methodology used to arrive at figures that have been released for the period between January 2020 and 31 December 2021," the health ministry stressed.
Earlier this year, three worldwide peer-reviewed studies, including Lancet, estimated that deaths caused by pandemic in India by September 2021 were "six to seven times higher than reported officially".
The WHO said that an estimated 15 million people worldwide are likely to have succumbed to the direct or indirect impact of COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021 — instead of the 5.4 million that have been recorded officially by countries separately.
According to the international public health body, nearly 84 percent of the total number of excess deaths happened in South East Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
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