India's federal Health Ministry has refuted a claim made by The Economist, which says that the nation's death toll from the coronavirus could be up to "five-to-seven times" higher than the official number.
The ministry said the "unsound analysis of the said article is based on the extrapolation of data without any epidemiological evidence".
In its article, the publication referred to a study published by Chris Leffler from Virginia Commonwealth University.
The discrepancy does not just mean that the true level of suffering has been glossed over. It has made the crisis worse, for instance by causing underestimates in demand for oxygen and drugs https://t.co/eWRAGzc7vW — The Economist (@TheEconomist) June 11, 2021
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The studies used by The Economist to estimate mortality are not validated tools for determining the death rate of any country or region, the ministry said.
Last month, The New York Times reported that India's death toll could be as high as 600,000. At the time the report was published, the country's official death toll was 315,000. The federal ministry dismissed that report too, calling it "baseless and false".
The Indian Health Ministry asserts that it has been transparent in its methodology for COVID data management. As of Sunday, the country's death toll from coronavirus stands at 370,407.