Modi government’s arguments against WHO’s ‘excessive’ death toll fall flat

By K Raveendran

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) declaration of 4.7 million ‘excess’ Covid deaths beyond India’s officially recognized figure and the Modi government’s response to the report are both shocking, but not surprising. The WHO resisted persistent opposition from the Indian government to finally publish the report.

The WHO only stated what the Indian public knew as fact about the high death toll from covid but was vehemently denied by the Modi government in its desperation to claim success in the fight against the pandemic. The report also agrees with the disturbing images playing on TV screens around the world of crematoriums and burial grounds bursting at their seams, funeral pyres burning non-stop, bodies floating in the river as well as victims falling died in the middle of the roads outside hospitals. as they struggle to breathe.

The government has questioned the methodology and data collection used to arrive at the number by the WHO. He also challenged the robustness and validity of the models followed by the global body and sought to counter it by citing an “extremely robust” civil registration system for registering births and deaths. But the government refuses to acknowledge that at the height of the pandemic, all systems and infrastructure were overwhelmed by the severity and scope of the problem. One or more methodology and model issues can perhaps make a difference in terms of thousands or even lakhs, but not so much that the final figure would be 10 times higher.

For statisticians, the Modi government’s claim that the total death toll from covid is less than 5 lakh is totally untenable. According to the government’s claim, the daily average of deaths for the two years 2020 and 2021 is less than 700. It is impossible that such a small number could exert pressure on funeral and funeral facilities nationwide to create the very disturbing scenes that have been seen around hospitals, cemeteries, crematoriums and river banks.

At the height of the pandemic, Delhi’s crematoria and burial grounds alone reported around 1,000 funerals over three days, or more than 300 a day. Based on the nationwide average of 700 deaths per day, this would mean that nearly half of all covid deaths in India have occurred in Delhi, with the rest of the country contributing the other half. Nothing could be more absurd than such an assumption. So if an expert body says the figure was 10 times higher, there is no need to worry.

The Modi government certainly has an agenda to keep the death toll low, while the WHO has no such blockages as the global body is only interested in dealing with the pandemic as best as humans can. . He has nothing to gain by pointing out that India accounted for nearly a third of all covid deaths globally. It’s not just India that the WHO blamed for underreporting the death toll from covid, it blamed most countries for it. In fact, the WHO has pointed out that many countries, including those in Europe and the Americas, lack the capacity to reliably monitor mortality and therefore do not collect and generate the data needed to calculate the excess mortality.

WHO believes that these sobering figures are important because they only indicate the impact of the pandemic but also the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems that can support health services. essential health during crises, including stronger health information systems. The figures provide decision-makers with information to guide policies aimed at reducing mortality and effectively preventing future crises.

It is in fact this process that the Modi government’s obsession with success is frustrating. For any problem to be solved, the most important first step is to recognize the problem. This is where the government is making a big mistake. There is no need for the government to feel guilty because covid was a natural occurrence. It is like a government trying to suppress the death toll in an earthquake, which occurs due to tectonic factors beyond human control. A government’s responsibility for such a natural calamity is quite exaggerated as it occurs due to changes in the tectonic plains over long periods of time, which are beyond the reach of any particular government. No one blames a government for an earthquake. If the world failed to combat covid early enough to prevent deaths on such a large scale, it is a manifestation of human failure, not government failure, notwithstanding the fact that it there may have been areas where the government could have done better. (API Service)

The post Modi Govt Arguments Against WHO ‘Excess’ Death Numbers Fall Flat first appeared on IPA Newspack.

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