The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated there were 4.74 million COVID deaths in India in 2020 and 2021, which is the highest in the world.
The estimates are nearly ten times the country’s official COVID death toll of 481,486 at the end of 2021.
The deaths, according to the report released yesterday, could be directly due to the disease or indirectly caused by the pandemic’s impact on health systems and society.
India’s COVID toll is approximately a third of the global death number, the report said.
In an official statement, the Union Health Ministry said that India had been consistently objecting to the methodology adopted by WHO to project excess mortality estimates based on mathematical models.
“Despite India’s objection to the process, methodology and outcome of this modelling exercise, WHO has released the excess mortality estimates without adequately addressing India’s concerns,” the Health Ministry said.
India’s official COVID death toll is 481,486 between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021.
The WHO report pegs COVID deaths in India at 4,740,894 during 2020 and 2021. The coinciding pandemic death figure (described as excess mortality) globally is approximately 14.9 million—ranging between 13.3 million and 16.6 million.