‘Excess deaths could be up to 49 lakh’: Experts reject India’s official coivid death toll

News Network
November 15, 2021

New Delhi, Nov 15: India’s excess deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic could be as high as 49 lakh (4.9 million), according to a new study that provides further evidence that millions more may have died from coronavirus than the official tally.

Experts who have questioned India’s official covid-19 death toll of 4.63 lakh citing Civil Registry Service (CRS) data, seroprevalence studies and other sources, claimed that the country registered anywhere between 27 lakh and 49 lakh excess deaths during the pandemic till June 2021.

Indo-Canadian epidemiologist Dr Prabhat Jha, director of the Centre for Global Health Research, University of Toronto, said various data showed that Covid-19 is the main contributor to excess deaths in the pandemic months in both 2020 and 2021.

“The actual numbers are at least three million or substantially higher than what has been officially reported, and with the adjustments India’s Covid deaths per million are close or similar to Latin America,” he said.

Dr Jha and other experts, who spoke at a specially convened panel by the Indian Academy of Sciences (IASc), said the calculations were made using several sources: CRS data from states, data from the Consumer Payment Household Surveys (CPHS) and surveys by the polling agency CVoter (Since May 2020, the polling agency has been asking households if they have recorded a Covid death).

“In the first wave, there was a modest 1 per cent increase in the number of households reporting deaths but then it abated. Then from April to June, there was a colossal 6% increase in households reporting a death,” said Dr Jha.

According to Dr Arvind Subramaniam, Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, the overall Indian “undercounting was somewhere between a factor of 7 and 10”.

Not all of these deaths were recorded as Covid-19 deaths, said Rukmini S, an independent data expert based in Chennai.

Rukmini said the Indian government's definition of a Covid-19 fatality “covered people who tested positive and then died soon after with a clear progression of the disease”.
Low medical certification

Most deaths in India remain without medical certification, which complicates matters.

Dr Jha, citing the United Nations, said there were about 10 million deaths a year in India out of which 3 million (30%) went unregistered. 

“They are just not counted but this is greater in women where close to 60% of women deaths are not counted. And of those seven million deaths registered, only about 13% have medical certification,” he said.

According to an under-review study on excess mortality in India, Bengaluru suffered an excess death ratio of 2.9 in the second wave.

Many of the excess deaths have since been disclosed in the daily Covid-19 bulletins, with one source in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) saying that “some deaths were held back during the second wave to avoid magnifying already high numbers and inducing greater panic in the public.”

This is borne out by data. During April and May, 4,033 Covid-19 deaths were made public. However, subsequent releases of backlog deaths, including some cases re-evaluated as Covid-19 fatalities by the death audit committee, show that 9,917 deaths actually happened during those two months.

Professor Dr Satyajith Mayor, Director of the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), and L S Shashidhara, co-organisers of the panel discussion, demanded data transparency from the government.

"These high numbers must figure in our response to the ongoing pandemic and also caution our citizens of the dire consequences of this disease,” said Mayor and Shashidhara in a joint statement.

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News Network
November 16,2021

Mysuru, Nov 16: The death of a 36-year-old man, who had developed complications after vaccination in Karnataka’s Mysuru has sparked fear among people. 

The family of the deceased has demanding a thorough probe. Officials, however, said the post mortem shows he died due to a pre-existing cardiovascular disease. 

Suresh Madaiah, a resident of Ashokapuram in Mysuru, was brought to K R hospital at 2.58 pm on November 12 by the Chamundipuram urban PHC medical officer after he was given his first Covishield vaccine shot at 1.55 pm. He was unconscious and wasn’t responsive when he was brought to the hospital.

After being examined by a team of specialist doctors, he was incubated immediately and all necessary investigations were done. Once his blood pressure was brought under control within two hours, both ECG and ECHO showed left ventricular hypertrophy.

The district administration said the man had not revealed his pre-existing illness and said the district AEFI (adverse event following immunisation) committee had declared his death as not related to vaccination.  

District health officer Dr K H Prasad said, “He was in coma for two days. On Friday, a CT scan revealed that he had a stroke and suffered a brain haemorrhage. Surgery was deferred as he wasn’t fit enough.”

“External ventricular drain was done on Saturday. In spite of the ventilator support and the surgical procedure, the patient’s neurological condition did not improve,” said the medical superintendent of KR Hospital, Mysore Medical College and Research Institute (MMCRI), in a written statement.  

Dr Prasad said, “He was declared dead on Monday and his post mortem was done on the same day, which revealed his pre-existing heart condition. He hadn’t informed about it prior to vaccination. The district AEFI committee has concluded that his death was not vaccine-related.”

The family members of the deceased have demanded a thorough investigation into the death.

Members of Bahujan Samaj Party, led by its general secretary Purushottam, staged a protest in front of KR Hospital on Monday. Deputy Commissioner Dr Bagadi Gautham reached the spot and received a memorandum from the protestors.

Dr C N Manjunath, director, Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, said, “Heart ailments are not contraindications for vaccination. We have many heart patients at Jayadeva who have got Covid vaccination after having undergone angioplasties at some point in their lives. This seems to be coincidental and not vaccine-related.”  

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News Network
November 28,2021

New Delhi, Nov 28: India on Sunday recorded 8,774 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, according to health ministry data.

In the meantime, 621 new fatalities were also recorded, taking the death toll due to the fatal virus to 4,68,554.

Over 3.45 crore infections have been recorded in the country so far.

With 9,481 recoveries, the total recoveries surged to 3,39,88,797.

The recovery rate is currently at 98.34 per cent, the highest since March 2020.

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News Network
November 18,2021

hostel.jpg

Yadgir, Nov 18: As many as 56 students fell sick after consuming breakfast allegedly cooked with a snakelet in Yadgir district of Karnataka on Thursday.

The dead reptile was found in the vessel used to cook 'upma' as breakfast. All the students of eighth and ninth grades are undergoing treatment at a hospital.

The incident took place in Vishwaradhya Vidyavardhaka Residential School in Abbetumkur village of Yadgir taluk.

Students who had breakfast fell sick. The snakelet was discovered in the vessel while breakfast was being served.

Panic gripped the hostel following the incident.

They were rushed to Primary Health Centre at Madnal and later shifted to the district hospital. Dr Vedmurthy, Superintendent of Police of Yadgir visited the ailing students.

The police have taken up the case for investigation.

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