With robust reporting system, Covid deaths unlikely to be missed: Government


Refuting media reports that India’s presumed COVID-19 death toll was “vastly underestimated,” the government said on Thursday that reports assumed all excess mortality figures are deaths from Covid it is not based on facts and totally misleading.

Given India’s strong and law-based death registration system, while some cases might go undetected in accordance with the principles of infectious diseases and their management, it is unlikely to have been missed. death, the Union Health Ministry said.

There have been recent media reports alleging that the excessive death toll in India during the pandemic could run into the millions, calling the official death toll from COVID-19 “vastly underestimated,” the ministry said. in a press release.

In these reports, citing the results of some recent studies, age-specific infection death rates for the United States and European countries were used to calculate excess deaths in India on the basis of HIV status.

“The extrapolation of deaths was made on a bold assumption that the likelihood of an infected person dying is the same in all countries, rejecting the interplay between various direct and indirect factors such as race, ethnicity , the genomic makeup of a population, the previous exposure levels to other diseases and the associated immunity developed in that population, ”the statement said.

In addition, seroprevalence studies are not only used to guide strategy and measures to further prevent the spread of infection to the vulnerable population, but are also used as another basis for extrapolating deaths.

The studies also have another potential concern that antibody titers may decrease over time, leading to an underestimation of the true prevalence and a corresponding overestimation of the death rate from infection.

Further, reports assume that all excess mortality figures are deaths from COVID-19, which is not factual and totally misleading. Excess mortality is a term used to describe an all-cause mortality figure. confused and attributing these deaths to COVID-19 is completely misleading, ”the statement said.

India has an extensive contact tracing strategy. All primary contacts, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, are tested for COVID-19. The true cases detected are those who test positive with RT-PCR, which is the gold standard of the COVID-19 test.

In addition to contacts, given the wide availability of more than 2,700 testing laboratories in the country, anyone who wishes to be tested can do so. This, along with awareness campaigns on symptoms and access to medical care, has enabled people to go to hospitals when needed.

Given India’s strong and law-based death registration system, deaths are unlikely to be missed.

This can also be seen in the case fatality rate, which as of December 31, 2020 stood at 1.45% and even after an unexpected increase seen in the second wave in April-May 2021, the case fatality rate s’ now stands at 1.34 percent, he said.

In addition, the daily notification of new cases and deaths in India follows a bottom-up approach, where districts report the number of cases and deaths to state governments and the Union Ministry on an ongoing basis, the statement said.

As of May 2020, to avoid any inconsistency or confusion in the number of reported deaths, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) issued “Guidelines for the Appropriate Registration of COVID-19-Related Deaths in India” for registration. correct of all deaths by states / UT as recommended by WHO for mortality coding.

In his statement to Rajya Sabha, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya refuted the cover-up claims of COVID-19 deaths and said the central government only compiles and publishes data sent by governments states, according to the press release.

The Union Department of Health has repeatedly advised states and UTs to register deaths according to guidelines.

The Ministry of Health has also regularly stressed the need for a strong reporting mechanism to monitor cases and deaths on a daily basis at the district level.

States were asked to conduct in-depth audits at their hospitals and report any cases or deaths that may have been missed with details by district and date to guide data-driven decision making.

At the height of the second wave, the entire health system focused on effective clinical management of cases requiring medical assistance, and correct notification and registration could have been compromised, which is also evident in a few states such as Maharashtra, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. their number of deaths recently.

In addition to these reports, the robustness of the law-based civil registration system (CRS) ensures that all births and deaths in the country are registered.

CRS goes through the process of collecting data, cleaning up, compiling and releasing the numbers, which, while time consuming, ensures that no deaths are overlooked. For the breadth and depth of the activity, the numbers are usually released a year later, the statement said.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)


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