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The death toll from the virus so far is estimated to be 2.5 million.
There is continuous evidence that the number of deaths due to corona virus in India is being said to be very low. Several news media and independent epidemiologists, including The Economist, estimate that India has five to seven times more deaths from COVID-19 than the official figure.
In a research paper by Christopher Leffler of Virginia Commonwealth University, USA, an analysis of the number of excess deaths in different parts of India has estimated 1.8 million to 2.4 million people to die after the pandemic in the country. The latest study based on insurance claims in Telangana states that there have been six times more deaths due to the virus than the authorized number.
It is not easy for people coming out of lockdown to leave behind sad memories. Instead of the peak of 4,000 deaths per day in mid-May, the official number of deaths is now declining steadily. But some surveys suggest that the government numbers are being reported to be much lower than the actual number of deaths. This discrepancy has made the crisis worse.
Deaths are estimated from unreliable government data, corporate records and newspaper condolence messages. Opinion polls also give information about the number of deaths being high. The survey group Prasyanam asked 15,000 people in mostly rural areas of Hindi-speaking states of North India whether anyone in their family or neighborhood had died of coronavirus. One in six people, or 17%, said yes.
Prassanam founder Rajesh Jain compared these results to a US survey in which people were asked a similar question. In a University of Chicago survey in March, 19% of people reported that their close friend or relative had been killed in the pandemic. Jain says, given the similarity in these results, it seems that the death rate from Kovid-19 in India is 1800 deaths per million people against India’s official figures of 230 per million people. They say that if India’s death rate is equal to the US estimate, then 25 lakh deaths have taken place in the country so far.
Election survey agency C Voter has been collecting information on Kovid-19 every day from people of ten languages across the country since June last year. His team is constantly asking people whether any member of their family has died of the virus. After the first wave in September, the number of people who answered yes to this question increased. It was around 1%. But, it rose to 7.4% in April and May this year.
death toll hidden
Yashwant Deshmukh, head of C Voter, says there are about 25 crore families in India. Therefore, by the middle of May, the number of people who died of Kovid-19 can be around one million 83 thousand. Deshmukh rejects the excuse that the departments of the Government of India lack the capacity to provide accurate figures. Deshmukh says, it is not related to capability but with intention. It is not about the central government or any particular party. Numbers are hidden in every level.