The union health ministry explains that India’s robust death registration system makes it highly unlikely that deaths will be missed, even though some cases might go undetected under infectious disease management principles.
In news reports, which cite the results of some recent studies, age-specific infection death rates for the United States and European countries have been used to calculate excess deaths in India based on seropositivity.
“The extrapolation of deaths has been carried out on the bold assumption that the probability that an infected person dies is the same in all countries, ruling out the interaction between several direct and indirect factors such as race, ethnicity, genomic constitution of one population, levels of exposure to other diseases and associated immunity were developed in that population, “the statement said.
Furthermore, seroprevalence studies are not only used to guide strategy and measures to further prevent the spread of infection to vulnerable populations, but are also used as another basis for extrapolating deaths.
Studies also have another potential concern that antibody titers may decline over time, leading to an underestimation of the true prevalence and a corresponding overestimation of the death rate from infection.
“Furthermore, the reports assume that all excess mortality figures are deaths from Covid-19, which is not based on facts and is totally fallacious. Excess mortality is a term used to describe a mortality figure for all causes and attributing these deaths to Covid-19 is completely misleading, “the statement said.
India has a comprehensive contact tracing strategy. All primary contacts, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, are tested for Covid-19. The true cases detected are those that are 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 wants to get tested can do so. This, along with awareness campaigns about symptoms and access to medical care, has ensured that people can go to hospitals in case of need.
Given India’s robust and statute-based death registration system, deaths are unlikely to be missed.
This could also be seen in the fatality rate, which, as of December 31, 2020, was 1.45 percent and even after an unexpected increase observed in the second wave in April-May 2021, the fatality rate today it is 1.34 percent. He said.
Furthermore, the reporting of new cases and daily deaths in India follows a bottom-up approach, with districts reporting the number of cases and deaths to state governments and the Union Ministry on an ongoing basis, according to the statement.
As early as May 2020, to avoid inconsistencies or confusion in the number of reported deaths, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) issued ‘Guide for the proper registration of Covid-19 related deaths in India’ for the correct registration of all The deaths. by States / UT as recommended by WHO for coding mortality.
In his statement in Rajya Sabha, Union Minister of Health Mansukh Mandaviya has refuted allegations of hiding the Covid-19 deaths and said that the central government only compiles and publishes data sent by state governments, according to the statement.
The union health ministry has been repeatedly advising states and UT to register deaths according to the guidelines.
The Ministry of Health has also regularly emphasized the need for a robust reporting mechanism to monitor daily cases and deaths by district.
States have been advised to conduct thorough audits of their hospitals and report any cases or deaths that may have been missed with district and date details to guide data-driven decision making.
As the focus of health systems shifted towards the effective management of cases requiring medical assistance during the second wave, the correct registration of cases could have been compromised, as is evident in some states such as Maharashtra, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
All births and deaths in a country are registered under the statute-based Civil Registration System (CRS) which ensures that all births and deaths in the country are registered.
The CRS ensures that no deaths are lost, no matter how long the process takes, as it involves various elements such as data collection, cleanup, compilation, and posting of numbers. For the extent and breadth of the activity, the figures are generally released a year later, according to the statement.