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Given the robust reporting system, Covid deaths are unlikely to be missed: Government News from India


NEW DELHI: Refuting media reports that the alleged death toll from Covid-19 in India was “highly underestimated”, the government said Thursday that reports assume that all excess mortality figures are deaths Covid, which is not based on facts and is totally fallacious. Given India’s robust statute-based death registration system, while some cases might go unnoticed under infectious disease principles and management, deaths are unlikely to be missed, the union health ministry said.
There have been some recent media reports alleging that India’s excess death toll during the pandemic could be in the millions, calling the official number of Covid-19 deaths “highly underestimated,” the ministry said in a statement.
In these news reports, which cite the results of some recent studies, age-specific infection death rates from the United States and European countries have been used to calculate excess deaths in India based on seropositivity.
“The extrapolation of deaths has been made on the bold assumption that the probability of an infected person dying is the same in all countries, ruling out the interaction between various direct and indirect factors such as race, ethnic origin, constitution genomics of a population, levels of exposure to other diseases and associated immunity were developed in that population, “the statement said.
Furthermore, seroprevalence studies are not only used to guide strategy and measures to further prevent the spread of infection to vulnerable populations, but are also used as another basis for extrapolating deaths.
The studies also have another potential concern that antibody titers may decline over time, leading to an underestimation of the true prevalence and a corresponding overestimation of the death rate from infection.
“Furthermore, the reports assume that all excess mortality figures are deaths from Covid-19, which is not based on facts and is totally fallacious. Excess mortality is a term used to describe a mortality figure for all causes and attributing these deaths to Covid-19 is completely misleading, “the statement said.
India has a comprehensive contact tracing strategy. All primary contacts, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, are tested for Covid-19. The true cases detected are those that are positive with RT-PCR, which is the gold standard of the Covid-19 test.
In addition to contacts, given the wide availability of more than 2,700 testing laboratories in the country, anyone who wants to get tested can do so. This, along with awareness campaigns about symptoms and access to medical care, has ensured that people can go to hospitals in case of need.
Given India’s robust and statute-based death registration system, deaths are unlikely to be missed.
This could also be seen in the fatality rate, which, as of December 31, 2020, was 1.45 percent and even after an unexpected increase seen in the second wave in April-May 2021, the fatality rate today it is 1.34 percent. He said.
Furthermore, the reporting of new cases and daily deaths in India follows a bottom-up approach, with districts reporting the number of cases and deaths to state governments and the Union Ministry on an ongoing basis, according to the statement.
As early as May 2020, to avoid inconsistencies or confusion in the number of reported deaths, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) issued ‘Guide for the proper registration of Covid-19 related deaths in India’ for the correct registration of all The deaths. by States / UT as recommended by WHO for mortality coding.
In his statement at Rajya Sabha, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya refuted allegations of hiding Covid-19 deaths and said that the central government only compiles and publishes data sent by state governments, according to the statement. .
The union health ministry has been repeatedly advising states and UT to register deaths according to the guidelines.
The Ministry of Health has also regularly emphasized the need for a robust reporting mechanism to monitor cases and deaths in the districts on a daily basis.
States have been advised to conduct thorough audits of their hospitals and report any cases or deaths that may have been missed with district and date details to guide data-driven decision making.
During the peak of the second wave, the entire health system focused on effective clinical management of cases requiring medical help, and correct reporting and recording could have been compromised, which is also evident in some states such as Maharashtra. , Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. reconciling his death toll recently.
In addition to these reports, the robustness of the statute-based Civil Registry System (CRS) ensures that all births and deaths in the country are recorded.
The CRS follows the process of data collection, cleaning, collation and publication of the numbers, which although it is a time-consuming process, ensures that no deaths are lost. For the extent and breadth of activity, the numbers are generally released a year later, according to the statement.

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