India's COVID death toll 'could be 10 times the official count'

Family members and volunteers carry the body of a COVID-19 victim for cremation in New Delhi, India.
Family members and volunteers carry the body of a COVID-19 victim for cremation in New Delhi, India. Copyright Amit Sharma/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
By AP
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Researchers estimate the total number of excess deaths may be between 3 and 4.7 million since the start of the pandemic.

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India’s COVID-19 death toll could be as much as 10 times the official count, according to a report released on Tuesday.

Researchers estimate the total number of excess deaths may be between 3 and 4.7 million since the start of the pandemic. 

Delhi, whose official calculations show 414,000 dead, is dismissive of the numbers.

The report compares death rates to those in pre-pandemic years, as well as taking into account the prevalence of the virus in the population and using an existing economic survey. The authors also estimate that India's initial virus surge last year killed many more people than reported, breeding complacency that set up conditions for the horrific surge earlier this year.

The report was published by Arvind Subramanian, the Indian government's former chief economic adviser, and two other researchers at the Center for Global Development, a nonprofit think tank based in Washington, and Harvard University.

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