India Coronavirus Updates: Amid reports alleging that India’s COVID death toll during the pandemic could be in millions, terming the official COVID-19 death toll as ‘vastly undercounted’, the Central government on Thursday issued a clarification.
The reports quoted findings from some recent studies that used US and European countries’ age-specific infection fatality rates to calculate excess deaths in India based on the sero-positivity, the Health Ministry said.
The extrapolation of deaths has been done on an audacious assumption that the likelihood of any given infected person dying is the same across countries, dismissing the interplay between various direct and indirect factors such as race, ethnicity, the genomic constitution of a population, previous exposure levels to other diseases, it added.
Furthermore, the sero-prevalence studies are not only used to guide strategy and measures to further prevent the spread of infection to the vulnerable population but are also used as another basis to extrapolate deaths, it stated.
The government further stated that the studies also have another potential concern that the antibody titers may diminish over time, leading to underestimation of true prevalence and corresponding overestimation of Infection Fatality Rate.
Also, the reports assume that all the excess mortality figures are COVID-19 deaths, which is not based on facts and totally fallacious, it asserted. Adding, it said that excess mortality is a term used to describe an all-cause mortality figure, and attributing these deaths to COVID-19 is completely misleading.
As per the coronavirus updates given by the Union Health Ministry, India’s COVID death toll stands at 4,18,987 after adding 507 new deaths in the last 24 hours.