Lancet report says India’s excessive Covid death toll highest in the world, government calls it ‘misinformed’
London: India’s estimated cumulative excess deaths from COVID-19 between January 2020 and December 2021 was the highest in the world at 4.07 million, about eight times higher than expected, according to a new Lancet analysis.
Responding to the findings, the Union Health Department on Friday called the analysis “speculative and ill-informed” and said the authors themselves admitted to several methodological flaws and inconsistencies. The study takes into account different methodologies for different countries, the ministry said in a statement. For India, for example, the data sources used by the study appear to have been drawn from journal articles and non-peer-reviewed studies, he said.
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This model uses all-cause excess mortality data (created by another non-peer-reviewed model) as input, raising serious concerns about the accuracy of the results of this statistical exercise, the ministry said.
The Lancet reported on Thursday that excess Covid death rates among Indian states are not the highest in the world, due to India’s large population, but the country accounted for around 22.3% of global excess deaths. as of December 31, 2021. .The paper estimates excess mortality due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 191 countries and territories from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2021.
Although COVID-19 deaths reported during this period totaled 5.94 million worldwide, the Lancet article estimates that 18.2 million people have died worldwide due to the COVID pandemic. -19, as measured by excess mortality, over this period. This is about three times higher than previously estimated. – Mortality linked to age 19, 2020-21. Excess mortality measures additional deaths over a period of time compared to the number usually expected and does not depend on how deaths from COVID-19 are recorded.
For India, the empirical assessment of excess mortality for 12 states used data from the civil registration system. For different months during the first and second waves of the COVID-19 outbreak in the 12 states of India, the total number of deaths for those states in the corresponding months has been made available, the article reports. peer reviewed.
Using the average of deaths reported during the same periods of the years 2018 and 2019, we were able to generate excess mortality rates for these Indian states after accounting for under-reporting of mortality by the event registration system vital statistics at the state level, he notes. At the country level, the highest numbers of cumulative excess deaths from COVID-19 were estimated in India (4.07 million [3·71-4·36]), indicates the log. After India, the highest numbers of cumulative excess deaths from COVID-19 were estimated in the United States (1.13 million), Russia (1.07 million), Mexico (798,000), Brazil (792,000), Indonesia (736,000) and Pakistan (664,000). According to the report, these seven countries accounted for more than half of the global excess deaths from COVID-19 during the 24-month period. The full impact of the pandemic has been far greater than indicated by reported deaths from COVID-19 alone, the paper, partly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, notes in its interpretation of the latest findings.
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Strengthening death registration systems around the world, long considered essential to global public health strategy, is needed to improve surveillance of this and future pandemics. Additionally, further research is needed to help distinguish the proportion of excess mortality directly caused by SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19] infection and changes in causes of death as an indirect consequence of the pandemic, he says.
According to the Ministry of Health, the methodology adopts log data at varying intervals to extrapolate (without any scientific basis) for the entire period under study. The pandemic has had multiple flare-ups over the period and varied trajectories in different states (at the sub-state level as well) at any given time. Therefore, the methodology used by this study is less than robust, he said.
Citing issues as sensitive as death, that too during a global public health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, should be handled with the facts and with the required sensitivity, the ministry added. This type of speculative reporting has the potential to cause panic in the community, can mislead people and should be avoided, he said. Also last month, India dismissed previous reports of suspected under-reporting of COVID-19 deaths in the country, with the health ministry saying it had a robust mechanism.
Based on a globally acceptable categorization, the Indian government has a comprehensive definition to classify COVID deaths which has been shared with the states following it. The Union Health Ministry has also regularly stressed the need for a strong reporting mechanism to monitor cases and deaths in the districts on a daily basis. Therefore, to predict that Covid deaths have been underreported is groundless and lacking in justification, the ministry said in a statement last month. On Friday, India’s Covid toll soared to 5,15,714 (5.15 lakh) with 255 new deaths, according to ministry data. India has recorded 4,194 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases to 4,29,84,261.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol has been working for a clean and healthy India since 2014 through the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is led by campaign ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the interconnectedness of humans and the environment, and of humans to each other, with a focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It emphasizes the need to care for and consider the health of everyone in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous peoples, various Indian tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically distant populations, gender and sexual minorities. As a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) is reaffirmed as hand washing is one of the ways to prevent coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same topic while focusing on the importance of nutrition and health care for women and children, the fight against malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health and gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign realized the need to also take care of the health of the ecosystem. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which not only overexploits available resources, but also generates immense pollution due to the use and extraction of these resources. The imbalance has also led to an immense loss of biodiversity which has caused one of the greatest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity”. The campaign will continue to cover issues such as air pollution, waste management, plastic bans, manual salvage and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also pursue the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign believes that only a clean Swachh or India where toilets are used and Open Defecation (ODF) status is achieved under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like Diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or a healthy India.