The share of registered deaths where the cause was medically certified, was the lowest for India among the countries considered

The Hindu has estimated that “excess deaths” registered during the pandemic period, based on the Civil Registration System (CRS) data from eight States, was 8.22 times the recorded COVID-19 death toll, a figure that will rank the highest among nations with the most recorded fatalities due to the virus. Not all excess deaths are related to COVID-19, but a bulk of them would be during the pandemic. While only close to 20.7% of those dead in the country were medically certified, registration of deaths in India has improved to more than 90% according to the CRS’ 2019 annual report on “Vital Statistics”. A preliminary comparison of excess deaths measured in India and other countries is attempted here.

■ While Peru’s undercount factor of 1.1 was relatively low, it is likely that many deaths may have gone uncounted as death registration was less than 75%.

■ The share of registered deaths where the cause was medically certified, was the lowest for India among the countries considered.

■ In Peru, the number of deaths registered in May 2021 alone was four times the average number of deaths registered in the country in May 2018 and 2019.

State-wise undercounting

The table lists the major States for which excess deaths and the undercount factor were calculated for the period from April 2020 to May 2021. Excess deaths were calculated as the difference between the registered deaths in the pandemic period and the average number of deaths registered in 2018 and 2019 for the same months.

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@ Registered deaths for 2018 and 2019 for 18 districts in the State. Deaths in accessed data was ~90-94% of deaths reported in CRS 2019 | && Registered deaths for 2018 and 2019 in accessed data was ~94-96% of deaths reported in CRS 2019 | & Registered deaths for 2018 and 2019 in accessed data was ~96-97% of deaths reported in CRS 2019 | ¹Baseline mortality: Average of 2018 and 2019 figures | *Reconciled COVID-19 death toll released by State | **Reconciled COVID-19 death toll mentioned by State CRS | ^Based on State’s official COVID-19 tally

Country-wise undercounting

The table lists the excess deaths and the undercount factor for the five countries with the highest recorded COVID-19 death toll apart from India. Chile was also included because it has a relatively high case fatality rate. Excess deaths were calculated as the difference between the registered deaths in the period from March 2020 and May 2021 and the average number of deaths registered in 2018 and 2019 for the same months.

Month-wise deaths

The charts depict the month-wise registered deaths between January 2018 and May 2021 in the five countries with the highest recorded COVID-19 fatalities along with Chile.

 

 

Source: Financial Times’s Github, Our World In Data, CRS, MCCD, World Bank, UN, covid19india.org Data for Brazil were insufficient for analysis

Also read: Excess deaths in West Bengal 11 times official COVID-19 tally

 

 



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