India halts WHO efforts to publicize global cod death toll

A major effort by the World Health Organization to calculate the death toll from the Corona virus outbreak globally shows that more people died than previously believed – by the end of the 15th of the 2021 million, official More than ten million in total. Reported individually by countries.

But releasing astounding estimates – the result of more than a year of research and analysis from experts around the world and the most comprehensive look at pandemic disease so far – has been delayed for months due to Indian objections, which Contends that many of its citizens died and tried to prevent it from becoming public.

More than a third of the extra 9 million deaths are estimated to occur in India, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government stands at a count of 520,000. The WHO will show that the country’s number is at least four million, according to figures familiar to those who were not authorized to disclose, which would give India the highest number in the world, they said. The Times was unable to learn estimates for other countries.

Data from WHO calculations are updated with local and household surveys of reported deaths on obesity, as well as with statistical models that aim to calculate deaths that have been reported. The vast majority of variations in the new global estimates already represent uncountable deaths, most of which were directly from the liar; The new number also includes indirect deaths, such as those who cannot access the care of other people with epilepsy.

The delay in releasing the data is important because global data is important to understand how the epidemic has progressed and what steps can mitigate a similar crisis in the future. This has led to a disturbing worldwide trend of health statistics – a complex hidden in the anodyne language being pursued by the United States Statistical Commission, the global body that collects health data, refusing to cooperate with India. due to.

“It is important for global accountability and moral responsibility for those who have died, but are also important in practice. If there are subsequent seizures, then it is important to understand the overall mortality rate, and it is important to know whether the vaccination campaign is working, “said Dr. Pratat Jha, director of the Center for Global Health Research in Toronto and the WHO. Said a member of the Expert Working Group. Additional Calculation of Deaths. “And this is important for accountability.”

To try to estimate the impact of the epidemic, WHO has assembled a team of experts, including demographers, public health experts, statisticians, and data scientists. The Technical Advisory Group, as it is known, is cooperating with countries to try to collect a full account of epidemic deaths.

Times Talk to more than 10 people who are familiar with the data. The WHO intended to make the numbers public in January, but releases have been pushed back.

Recently, some members of the group warned the WHO that if the organization did not release statistics, experts would do so themselves, said three people familiar with the matter.

“Our goal is to publish in April,” WHO spokeswoman Amina Samael Begovic told the Times.

Dr. Samira Asma, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Data, Analytics and Impact, which is helping lead the calculation, said the data release was “a little late but said” because we Want to make sure All have been advised. “

India insists that the WHO method is flawed. “India feels that the process was neither cooperative nor appropriate,” the government said in a statement to the United Nations Statistical Commission in February. It also argued that the process “did not have the scientific rigor and rationality it hoped for” from the World Health Organization’s Tall Organization.

The Health Ministry in New Delhi did not respond to requests for comment.

India is not alone in counting infectious deaths: new WHO numbers also show lower numbers in other populous countries such as Brazil and Indonesia.

Dr. Asma noted that many countries have struggled to determine the effects of the epidemic. Even in the most developed countries, he said, “I think when you look under the hood, it’s challenging.” At the beginning of the outbreak, there were significant differences in how quickly different US states were reporting deaths, he said, and some were still collecting data via fax.

India brought in a large team to review WHO data analysis, he said, and the agency was happy to do so, because it wanted the model to be as transparent as possible.

India’s work on vaccination has received praise from experts globally, but its public health response to the Code has been criticized as having more confidence. Mr Modi was proud in January 2021 that India had “saved humanity from a great disaster”. A few months later, his health minister announced that the country was “at the end of code-19”. Satisfaction was established, due to incorrect measures and efforts by officials to silence critical voices within elite institutions.

Science has been widely practiced in India during the epidemic. In February, India’s junior health minister criticized a study published in the Science Journal, which estimates that the country’s false death toll is six to seven times higher than the official figure. In March, the government questioned the procedure of a study published in The Lancet in which India’s death toll was estimated at four million.

“Personally, I have always felt that science has to respond to science,” said Durmar Mukherjee, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Michigan School of Public Health who works with WHO to review data. Is doing “If you have an alternative, which is through rigorous science, you just have to create it. You can’t just say, ‘I won’t accept it’.

India has not submitted data on WHO deaths in the past two years, but researchers from the organization have used data collected from at least 12 states, including Andhra Pradesh, thirty-six and Karnataka, experts say. Shows at least four to five times more. Death resulting from Covid-19.

Jon Wakefield, a professor of statistics and biostatistics at the University of Washington, who played a key role in building the models used for the measurements, said the WHO’s initial presentation of global data was ready in December.

But then India was unhappy with the measure. So since we’ve done all sorts of sensitive reviews later, the paper is actually much better with this wait, because we’ve been overboard in terms of model checks and are doing as much as we possibly can. Can do the data that is available. Dr. Wakefield said. “And we’re ready to go.”

The statistics represent what statistics and researchers call “more deaths” – the difference between all the fatalities that have occurred and what was expected to occur under normal circumstances. WHO calculations include those deaths directly from quotients, deaths from people because of complex conditions of the quotient, and deaths from those who did not have the lie but who needed treatment. General Chat Chat Lounge The calculation also takes into account expected returns that are not due to code restrictions, such as traffic accidents.

Globally counting extra fat is a complex task. Some countries have closely tracked the death data and immediately provided it to WHO others provided only partial data, and the agency had to use modeling to shoot the image. And then there are the large number of countries, almost all of which are in sub-Saharan Africa, that do not collect death data and for which the statisticians have had to rely solely on modeling.

WHO’s Dr Asma says that 9 out of 10 deaths in Africa and 6 out of 10 deaths globally are not registered and more than half of the world’s countries do not provide the exact cause of death. That means that the starting point for this kind of analysis is also “style,” he said. “We have to be humble about it, and let’s say we don’t know what we don’t know.”

To estimate mortality for countries with no or no death data, experts in the Consulting Group used statistical models and made predictions based on specific country information such as temperature measures, historical rates of illness, temperature and Demographics compile national statistics and, from there, regional and global estimates.

Apart from India, there are other large countries where the data is also uncertain.

The Russian Health Ministry had reported 300,000 quad deaths by the end of 2021, and that was the number the government gave to WHO, but the Russian national statistical agency, which is completely independent of the government, estimated the deaths of more than one million people. Number found. Who is reportedly the closest to one in the WHO draft. Russia has objected to that number, but has made no attempt to stop the data being counted, group members said.

China, where the outbreak began, does not usually release death data, and some experts have raised questions about low reporting of death, especially in the outbreak. China officially reports less than 5,000 of the virus, less than XNUMX deaths.

While China has indeed lowered the case load compared to many countries, it has done so partly through some of the world’s toughest lockdowns – which have had an impact on public health. Using internal data, one of the few studies to examine additional deaths in China, conducted by a group of government researchers, showed that the city had an increase in heart disease and diabetes in Wuhan during the two-month lockdown. Researchers say the increase was mostly due to a failure or reluctance to seek help at hospitals. They concluded that the overall death rate in Wuhan was 2020 percent higher than expected in the first quarter of 50.

India’s attempt to curb the report’s release makes it clear that epidemic data is a sensitive issue for the Modi government. “This is an extraordinary step,” said Anand Krishnan, a community medicine professor at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi who is also working with WHO to review the data. “I don’t remember a time when it did in the past.”

Ariel Karlinsky, an Israeli economist who creates and maintains the global death data set and who is working with the WHO on statistics, said they are a challenge for governments when they show extra fatalities. “I think those results are far more meaningful to those in power.

Vivian Wang Contributed Reporting.

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