India Death Data Shows Small Jump in 2020 Despite Covid Outbreak
(Bloomberg) -- India said that deaths in 2020 rose at a slower pace than previous years despite the proliferation of the novel coronavirus, in a data release that will likely add to long-standing skepticism over the government’s official Covid figures.
While India’s most devastating infection wave was in 2021 and not 2020, the first year of the pandemic saw most countries report a substantial uptick in overall fatalities as the virus raced through populations before vaccines became available. In 2020, India recorded almost 10.3 million infections and 148,738 deaths. Its modest mortality figures are likely to add to controversy over the government’s attempts to play down the scars Covid has left on the country. Several models have pegged India’s fatality count many times higher.
Officials have clashed with the World Health Organization over a yet-to-be-released report that says India’s official Covid death toll is at least 4 million, the highest in the world, the New York Times reported last month. India, which officially acknowledges a little over 523,900 Covid deaths so far, criticized WHO’s method of calculating Covid mortality data soon after NYT’s report was published.
India released the 2020 death data several months before schedule since there was a lot of focus on what happened that year, Dr V K Paul, government adviser told the national broadcaster Doordarshan late on Tuesday. “We request organizations that have based their numbers on modeling and assumptions and theories to only use this actual data,” he said.
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