As India braces for an Omicron surge, a new analysis finds that previous strains of COVID-19 may have killed nearly 3 million in the country—6 times higher than official counts show, and the highest of any country, Science reports.
- India has reported an anomalously low mortality rate: 340 per million. But using independent polling data and hospital records, researchers say rates are closer to between 2,300 and 2,500 deaths per million.
- Experts say the undercounting could be a result of both political obfuscation and disorganization.
- The findings could prompt scrutiny of other countries, and a “recalibration of the global numbers,” says the study’s leader Prabhat Jha. WHO says the study provides a promising model for researchers seeking similar data in other countries.
The revelation comes as India faces a “deluge” of new Omicron-driven cases, which have spiked five-fold in recent days—causing health workers to fear that “the sheer volume may make the system crumble,” Al Jazeera reports.
Related: India says safety concerns restricting use of Merck COVID pill – Reuters