India’s COVID Toll: Govt Dismisses NYT Report As ‘Baseless & False’

New Delhi: As expected, the Union government has rubbished a report in New York Times that estimated India’s COVID-19 death toll to be much higher than official figures.

“This entire report is baseless and false. We don’t know on what basis this estimation work was done. We have robust system in place, which states are following and reporting,” Joint Secretary of Health ministry Luv Agarwal said on Thursday.

Chairman of National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) Dr VK Paul also defended India’s system.

“Every country has its infection estimate, which is also coming out from their sero-survey. US has done their sero-survey and there are differences in the actual number. We compare it with mortality ratio of the country,” Paul said.

“Systems are in place. There may be some late reporting somewhere, but you can’t simply multiple 12 folds without any scientific study,” added Paul.

As per worst-case scenario of NYT’s study, about 40 lakh people may have died in India while 70 crore may have been infected by coronavirus till now, as opposed to official figures of 3 lakh and 2.6 crore, respectively.

Their ‘conservative’ estimate put India’s toll at 6 lakh and number of people infected at 40 crore, while a ‘more likely scenario’ estimated number of deaths at 16 lakh and those contracting the virus at 53.9 crore.

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