India has a robust system of recording COVID-19 deaths: Heal
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Informing that India has a robust system of recording COVID-19 deaths, Union Health Ministry said, these news reports quoting findings from some recent studies, US and European countries’ age-specific infection fatality rates have been used to calculate excess deaths in India based on the sero-positivity.

The extrapolation of deaths has been done on an audacious assumption that the likelihood of any given infected person dying is the same across countries, dismissing the interplay between various direct and indirect factors such as race, ethnicity, the genomic constitution of a population, previous exposure levels to other diseases and the associated immunity developed in that population.

Further, the ministry informed that excess mortality is a term used to describe an all-cause mortality figure, and attributing these deaths to COVID-19 is completely misleading. The reports assume that all the excess mortality figures are COVID deaths, which is not based on facts and totally fallacious.

India has a thorough contact tracing strategy for people who want to get tested for. All the primary contacts, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic are tested for COVID-19. The true detected cases are the ones that test positive with RT PCR, which is the gold standard of the COVID-19 test. There are more than 2700 testing laboratories in the country and access to medical care.

Highlighting that robust and statute-based Death Registration System in India, the ministry said, "Some cases could go undetected as per the principles of infectious disease and its management, missing out on the deaths is unlikely. This could also be seen in the case fatality rate, which, as of 31 st December 2020, stood at 1.45 percent, and even after an unexpected surge observed in the second wave in April- May 2021, the case fatality rate today stands at 1.34 percent."

Reporting of daily new cases and deaths in India follows a bottom-up approach, the Health Ministry statement indicated that districts report the number of cases, deaths to the State Governments and to the Health Ministry on a continuous basis. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) issued guidance for correct recording of all deaths by States, UTs as per ICD-10 codes recommended by WHO for mortality coding. The Health Ministry has also regularly emphasized the need for a robust reporting mechanism for monitoring district-wise cases and deaths on a daily basis.