India’s excess deaths during the coronavirus pandemic could be 10 times higher than the official toll from the disease, research suggests.
The study by the US-based Centre for Global Development estimates that between three million and 4.9 million more people died in India than would be expected between January 2020 and June 2021.
Excess deaths refers to the difference between recorded number of deaths and expected number of deaths in the same time period.
It is a more accurate measure than confirmed COVID-19 deaths alone, according to the World Health Organisation.
“India’s official death count as of end-June is 400,000. The reality is, of course, catastrophically worse,” the study 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,” it said.
The 1947 partition which marked the independence of India and Pakistan from Britain led to the killing of one million people in sectarian violence between Hindus and Muslims.
Many epidemiologists have previously said India’s actual death toll could be several times higher than the official toll but the government has rejected this as misleading and exaggerated.