WHO report claiming India’s underreported coronavirus victims sparks political storm

India’s biggest opposition party on Friday called for a dramatic increase in government compensation for families of coronavirus victims after the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report accusing India of underfunding. -radically estimate the number of deaths caused by the pandemic.

“Science does not lie. Mod does it! Respect the families who have lost loved ones,” said Rahul Gandhi, currently number two in the Indian National Congress (INC) party:

Gandhi has demanded that compensation for Chinese coronavirus victims be increased to 400,000 rupees (about $5,200) from the current award of 50,000 rupees. Given that the WHO report he cited revealed 4.7 million coronavirus deaths in India, while the government’s official tally was only 524,000, this would represent a huge increase in medical spending. compensation in the event of a pandemic.

“The government must immediately form a Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] commission with members from all parties to analyze deaths that occurred due to unavailability of oxygen, rupture of supply chain in case of vaccines and medicines, and plan better management during such pandemics », mentioned INC spokesman Gourav Vallabh at a press conference on Friday.

“The nation saw people gasping for breath during the second wave. The world saw the Modi management style when thousands of bodies were floating in Maa Ganga. India was put to shame on the world stage when photos of the floating bodies circulated in international media,” Vallabh said, referring to corpses dislodged from shallow graves by monsoon floods in the summer of 2021.

“In short, while the Modi government has fought for its handling of Covid-19, the reality is much harsher than the government wants us to believe,” he concluded.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration rejected the WHO report, questioning “the validity and robustness of the models used and the methodology of data collection”.

Modi’s BJP party accused Gandhi to play politics with coronavirus deaths based on WHO’s ‘flawed’ report.

The WHO backtracked on its findings shortly after the report was released, saying the Indian government had provided new data that had not been analyzed before the report was prepared.

A family member performs the last rites for a COVID-19 victim at a crematorium in Jammu, Jammu, India, Friday, April 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)

On the other hand, some Indian state governments are making increases in compensation payments that roughly track the WHO estimate of eight times as many deaths from the pandemic as the central government has acknowledged.

The WHO report was invoice as the most comprehensive analysis of coronavirus deaths to date. It counted 14.9 million “additional deaths associated with Covid-19” worldwide at the end of 2021, around three times the official international tally of 5.4 million.

These “excess deaths” were not just people who indisputably died of coronavirus infections, but also people who died because the pandemic overloaded their local healthcare system, preventing them from receiving treatment. Such deaths were mentioned in the angry accusations INC members leveled against the Modi administration on Friday.

The WHO has found that nearly half of unreported coronavirus deaths are from India. Other analysts have accused the Indian government of underestimating Chinese coronavirus deaths, but the WHO figure is one of the highest suggested so far.

According to the report, claims that the United States has the most coronavirus deaths would be inaccurate — India, Russia and Indonesia have all recorded more total deaths, and seven other countries have recorded more deaths per 100,000 population than the United States.

The WHO researchers said the United States had also been fairly accurate in reporting its coronavirus deaths, after overcoming some “early issues that arose with missed nursing home deaths”.


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