Centre Refutes Undercount Of COVID Toll In First Two Waves, Terms Reports ‘Baseless’

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New Delhi: The Centre on Friday refuted the reports in a section of media that the government had provided a “significant undercount” of the number of people who died of COVID in first two waves in the country and the actual toll may be “substantially greater” crossing three million.

The Health Ministry, in a statement, said the allegation of ‘undercount’ of COVID deaths were fallacious and ill-informed. “It is clarified that such media reports are fallacious and ill-informed. They are not based on facts and are mischievous in nature. India has a very robust system of birth and death reporting which is based on a statute and is carried out regularly from the gram panchayat level to the district level and state level,” the statement said.

The ministry said the exercise of enumerating the death due to the COVID is carried out under the supervision of the Registrar General of India (RGI). Besides, the Centre has a very comprehensive definition to classify COVID deaths, based on globally acceptable categorisation, it added.

“All deaths are reported by the states and compiled centrally. The backlog of COVID mortality submitted by the states are also included in the Central data on a regular basis,” the Ministry said.

Since the states have reported their casualty figure in a transparent manner, the allegation that deaths were under-reported is without basis and without justification, it added.

Clarifying that there is a “difference” in the COVID caseload and linked mortality between Indian states, the Ministry said, “Putting all states in one envelope would mean mapping skewed data of outliers together with states reporting lowest mortality which is bound to stretch the median towards higher and wrong results.”

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