Number of deaths caused by Covid-19 much higher than official figures, claims report

The Covid-19 pandemic hit the world in late 2019 and since then, the pandemic has led to the death of over 5.5 million people, till date. If this seems grim, a report in Nature will make you even more anxious – as per the report, while 5.5 million is the official data, the actual death toll count could be many times higher.

“Some official data in this regard are flawed, scientists have found. And more than 100 countries do not collect reliable statistics on expected or actual deaths at all, or do not release them in a timely manner,” the report in Nature reads.

Several countries, including India, have been accused of trying to hide their actual Covid-19 death toll, so as to save their image and avoid criticism on the global platform.

The report published in Nature has taken into account The Economist magazine’s machine learning approach in London. According to it, there are issues with data collection and it goes on to make this big claim – the actual fatalities could be two and four times more than the official Covid-19 data!

The report goes on to give examples. It said that countries such as the Netherlands, in the initial period of the pandemic, only counted those deaths as Covid toll wherein individuals died in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19. On the other hand, another European country, Belgium, included deaths in the community and everyone who died after showing symptoms of the disease, even if they weren’t diagnosed, reports Nature.

The report also mentions that the World Mortality Dataset (WMD) lacks excess-death estimates for more than 100 countries, including China, India and many in Africa. “That’s because those countries either do not collect death statistics or do not publish them speedily,” it mentioned. Excess mortality means the number of extra people who died compared with pre-crisis figures.

In June 2021, the Centre had refuted a report by The Economist, according to which the country’s toll due to Covid-19 could be “five-to-seven times” higher than the official numbers that’s been provided. But the Union health ministry dismissed such news and said report like this “is without any basis and seems to be misinformed”.

Meanwhile, as per the data released by the Ministry of Health today (January 20, 2022), India recorded 3,17,532 new Covid-19 cases, 491 deaths in the last 24 hours, pushing the total death toll to 4,87,693, according to .