Rajya Sabha member and Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader John Brittas on Monday sought an exhaustive review of the data pertaining to COVID-19 deaths in India following media reports that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has placed the country’s coronavirus fatalities way higher than the number reported by the Union government.
In a letter to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, the CPI(M) member from Kerala sought necessary directions to the authorities concerned to take urgent action to conduct an extensive review of the data pertaining to COVID-19 deaths in the country and to take proactive action to deal with a possible future wave of the pandemic efficiently and effectively.
“It is disquieting to note media reports that @WHO has placed India’s COVID-19 death at around 40 lakh! It’s way above the official figure of 5.2 lakh. We need to come clean on this and data should be sacrosanct,” Mr. Brittas tweeted along with a copy of the letter. In the letter, Mr. Brittas said it was pertinent to note that there were several reports in the past concerning the purported attempts to manipulate the data regarding the COVID-19 deaths in India.
Mr. Brittas pointed out many reports, including those from the journal Science, that found that India’s cumulative COVID deaths by September 2021 were six to seven times higher than the figures reported officially. “Nevertheless, we are constrained to go by the official data published by the Government of India. Being an international agency under the United Nations, WHO’s reports and the methodologies adopted for studies are viewed with utmost earnestness and seriousness,” the Rajya Sabha MP said.