A New York Times report suggesting that the actual death toll from Covid-19 in India is much higher than official figures indicate has been dismissed as “false” and “distorted” by the country’s Health Ministry.
The suggestions made in the article were based on “distorted estimates” and not supported by evidence, a ministry spokesman said during a briefing on Thursday. He went on to blast the report as “completely baseless and false,” as cited by PTI news agency.
In Wednesday’s piece – entitled ‘Just How Big Could India’s True Covid Toll Be?’ – the NYT offered several possible scenarios regarding the coronavirus crisis in the country, and in all of them, the number of fatalities was considerably higher than the official count.
According to the paper’s estimates, which the NYT said were based on an analysis of Indian health data and interviews with a dozen experts, the “true” death toll in the country could range from 600,000 to 4.2 million.
With Indian hospitals overwhelmed by Covid cases, many people were dying at home, especially in rural areas, and as a result were omitted from the official count, according to the experts who spoke to the NYT. They also said the systems used to maintain key records in India are “shaky at best.”
The latest official figures from the Indian government indicate that over 27.3 million Covid-19 cases have been recorded across the country, with more than 315,000 deaths due to the disease since the start of the pandemic.
Following a major spike in cases, which put India’s health system on the brink of collapse, the country has seen a steady decline in infections for 20 days now, the Health Ministry’s spokesman said on Thursday. The recovery rate among Covid-19 patients has also climbed to 90%, he added.