COVID-19 deaths may be higher than reported -Hemant Deepak Shewade and Giridara Gopal Parameswaran
The death figures for India may have to be adjusted for low coverage of medical certification of cause of death
As on July 31, India had the third highest burden of COVID-19 globally (based on total reported cases). According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), there were 35,747 reported COVID-19 deaths and 5,45,048 active cases. India had 26 COVID-19 deaths per million population. This has been cited to substantiate the low mortality in the country. As per Indian Council of Medical Research guidelines, if it is medically certified that the underlying cause of death is suspected or confirmed COVID-19, then that death should be recorded and reported as a COVID-19 death.
The States update the number of COVID-19 deaths to the MoHFW based on the updates received from cities and districts. The reported COVID-19 deaths have to be updated in the medical certification of cause of death (MCCD) web portal. Updates from States and the MoHFW are our immediate source of COVID-19 deaths. The same should also be available at the end of the year when the MCCD reports are collated. The latest MCCD report is available for 2017.
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The Hindu, 10 August, 2020, https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/covid-19-deaths-are-not-as-low-as-reported/article32310814.ece?homepage=true