New Delhi: India's excess deaths during the COVID pandemic could be between 3.4 to 4.9 million, according to a new report which suggests millions more may have died from the SARS-CoV-2 virus than the official count. The report, which was released on Tuesday (July 22), is co-authored by India's former chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian, Justin Sandefur from the US-based think-tank Center for Global Development and Abhishek Anand from Harvard University.
"Estimating COVID-deaths with statistical confidence may prove elusive. But all estimates suggest that the death toll from the pandemic is likely to be an order of magnitude greater than the official count of 400,000," the authors said. "True deaths are likely to be in the several millions not hundreds of thousands, making this arguably India's worst human tragedy since partition and independence," the authors added in their report.
Excess deaths between January 2020 and June 2021 are between 3.4 million to 4.9 million, they estimate. Excess deaths are additional deaths recorded during a pandemic, as compared to a corresponding period in pre-pandemic years, and could be a potential indicator of undercounting in India's COVID toll.