India registered about 475,000 more deaths by 2020 than last year, government data released months before the schedule on Tuesday showed, as the World Health Organization (WHO) reads Covid-19 deaths that the new Delhi method opposed .
Some experts estimate that India’s Covid death toll is as high as 4 million, about eight times the official figure, especially as the Delta-type record killed more people in April and May last year. The WHO estimates will be published on Thursday.
Vinod Kumar Paul, India’s top health official in charge of the fight against the epidemic, said there was nothing “surprising” in the 2020 death data and that those were “accurate, precise and calculated”.
He said data showing 8.1 million deaths in India by 2020 was released by the Office of the Registrar General two months to three months in advance due to national Covid considerations.
“There is a public report in the media, based on various model estimates, that the death of India’s Covid-19 is often a reported number – not really the case,” he told TV.
“Now that we have the exact 2020 data, there is no need to make any model right now. We will have real, strong 2021 data as well. Estimation can lead to speculative, irrational predictions.”
The death toll has dropped slightly in the country at 1.35 million people by 2020 over the past two years, data show.
India has officially reported 148,738 Covid-19 deaths by 2020, with a jump to 523,889 on Tuesday for an additional 43 million infections. Only the United States and Brazil have recorded mass deaths since Tuesday.
Countries around the world have estimated that there are only 1.83 million Covid-19 deaths by 2020 but the WHO estimates that more than 3 million deaths worldwide worldwide this year.
India has said it does not agree with the WHO approach, although scientists working on recent estimates have protected it.