A top epidemiologist who studied the coronavirus pandemic in India has recently suggested that the number of infections and deaths in the country is very much higher than official data. Dr Bhramar Mukherjee of the University of Michigan estimated the number of infected people could be way beyond 491 million, and he believes that the death toll could be above 1.2 million. It should be noted that the official number of deaths in India is just 2.7 lakh, and the report suggests that the actual death toll could be seven times higher than official figures. 

Centre says the report is unsound and misinformed

In the meantime, a report was published in The Economist, which also stated that India has under-reported the number of fresh cases and deaths. As these two reports went viral on the online spaces,  the Indian government refuted these findings and made it clear that the assessment is based on the extrapolation of data without any epidemiological evidence. 

Covid deaths in India
A Covid crematorium ground in New DelhiReuters/Danish Siddiqui

In a recent statement, the Union Health Ministry slammed the report initially published in The Economist. Without naming the publication, the ministry termed the article speculative, unsound, and without any basis. 

"It is noted that a renowned international magazine in its article has speculated that 'India has suffered perhaps five to seven times "excess deaths" than the official number of COVID-19 fatalities'. It is a speculative article, which is without any basis and seems to be misinformed. The unsound analysis of the said article is based on the extrapolation of data without any epidemiological evidence. Studies which are used by the magazine as an estimate of excess mortality are not validated tools for determining mortality rate of any country or region," read the statement. 

India showing signs of recovery

In the meantime, recent statistics over the past couple of weeks indicate that the second wave of Covid in India is slowing down. In the last 24 hours, India witnessed over 80,000 fresh coronavirus cases and 3,303 deaths. 

Even though the second wave of Covid is slowing down in the country, medical experts strongly believe that a third wave could hit India in the coming months.