DR Ambedkar IAS Academy

Is India under-reporting Covid-19 death toll? What are the actual figures?

The number of persons who succumbed to the novel coronavirus infection has crossed 83,000, and reports suggest that on a global scale, India contributes only 1 in 12 Covid-19-related deaths. However, scientists and experts believe that India is under-reporting the actual death toll, and there is no reliable estimate to gauge the magnitude of under-reported deaths in the country.

India has reported over 90,000 Covid-19 cases daily in the past week, and the country accounts for 1 in every 6 confirmed cases worldwide. The data on daily infections are suspected to be under-reported too as asymptomatic persons go undetected, Covid-19 precautionary measures are flouted. 

Apart from trying to curb the spread of the virus, the next big hurdle is to prevent the death toll from increasing. The case fatality ratio, or the number of deaths against the confirmed infections, stands at 1.63 per cent, and the recovery rate at78.86 per cent according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The calculation of CFR used has been questioned upon, as just division does not provide an accurate picture. This is mainly because the number of persons passing away on a particular day had tested positive weeks ago, thus using that figure against the number of persons testing positive in 24 hours provides a misleading picture.

Approximately 121 COVID-related deaths have taken place per million population, whereas in India, the number is about 60

The period from infection to death is still under study, and a correct estimate of CFR can be achieved only by tracking the infection timeline of every infected person to the day of death.  

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