India’s Covid-19 Deaths: 10X Worse

A woman in her home covers her nose as smoke and fumes rise from the burning funeral pyres of COVID-19 victims. New Delhi, May 9, 2021. Image: Anindito Mukherjee/Getty
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A woman in her home covers her nose as smoke and fumes rise from the burning funeral pyres of COVID-19 victims. New Delhi, May 9, 2021. Image: Anindito Mukherjee/Getty

It’s much worse than India’s official numbers. The country has experienced from 3.4 million to 4.9 million excess deaths COVID-19—far higher than the 400,000 deaths cited by the government, according to a new Center for Global Development report.
 
The calculations: CGD and Harvard researchers used 3 different data sources in creating a range of excess mortality estimates from the pandemic’s beginning through June.
 
“All estimates suggest that the death toll from the pandemic is likely to be an order of magnitude greater than the official count,” the report notes.
 
The authors also said that India’s first wave—from late summer through early fall 2020—was more deadly than initially reported, The Guardian reports.
 
Credit where it’s due: Report author Arvind Subramanian credited the efforts of Indian journalists and civil society workers “who tirelessly and furiously recorded deaths and forced state governments to release accurate data and revise their figures.”
 
Accurate data, said Subramanian, is an essential foundation for building effective responses to future pandemics.

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