Media report on Gujarat undercounting Covid deaths is ‘inaccurate’, says government
- A Gujarati newspaper published a report on Friday using death certificates issued by state authorities between March 1 and May 10 to claim that the state has witnessed an excess of 61,000 deaths compared to the same time last year.
A day after media reports on Gujarat undercounting Covid deaths emerged, the state's additional chief secretary, Pankaj Kumar, told reporters on Saturday that the move of using death certificates to ascertain the number of fatalities suffers from inaccuracies and should be discarded.
“There has been a trend where death certificates' figures are being used to ascertain figures of death. Recently such a report published by one of the newspapers where they've utilised analysis to establish suppression of death figures on part of the government,” Kumar said, as quoted by ANI.
A Gujarati newspaper published a report on Friday using death certificates issued by state authorities between March 1 and May 10 to claim that the state has witnessed an excess of 61,000 deaths compared to the same time last year. The report was compiled on the basis of data collected from municipal authorities of 33 districts and 8 major cities. This report follows the precedent set by many other Gujarati newspapers which have claimed Covid-19 fatalities were being consistently underreported in the state.
The additional chief secretary also said that the media report has ignored that a year-to-year comparison needs to factor in that the death rate goes up every year due to the annual growth of the population. Hence, the entire report should be done away with.
“It is also pertinent to note that while doing a comparison on a year to year basis, annual growth of population and the corresponding increase in the number of deaths, usually 5-10%, needs to be factored into which have completely been done away with,” said Kumar.
“Therefore, the whole analysis and inferences drawn in the said report suffers from multiple inaccuracies and needs to be discarded,” he added.
Highlighting the media reports, the Congress called for an inquiry into the matter, asking the state government to “own up” and take action against officials involved in fudging of Covid data.