WHO estimates massive under-reporting in India’s Covid death toll

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has accused India of stalling the health agency’s efforts to revise the global Covid death toll after it reportedly pegged India’s death toll at 4 million as against the official figure of 520,000.

The report has not been published yet, but it suggests that India under-reported its death toll by some 3.5 million. The Indian government has reportedly asked WHO to publish the report in “ten years’ time.”

The excess mortality estimate has been produced through a collaboration between the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, WHO, and a WHO technical advisory group. According to a report in Devex, the Indian government does not agree with the WHO estimate.

According to a report in The Independent, the country failed to submit its entire mortality data for the last two years and the researchers had to use data gathered from at least 12 states.

“While WHO is doing everything to work to address concerns, this must be balanced against WHO’s obligation to publish health statistics. Therefore, the estimates will be published, but noting India’s reservations,” a WHO spokesperson said. The WHO intends to publish the report in April 2022.