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Remember to forget

Is it unpatriotic to die on your government, even if it is of Covid-19?
WHO has now gone ahead and said that more people in India died during the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021 than have been counted.
WHO has now gone ahead and said that more people in India died during the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021 than have been counted.
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Upala Sen   |   Published 08.05.22, 02:33 AM

Okay, so the World Health Organization (WHO) has now gone ahead and said that more people in India died during the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021 than have been counted. The number WHO is citing is 4.8 million, which is roughly the same as the population of Ireland. The official number from India is half a million, which is a little less than the population of Sikkim.

Death by hearsay

There is data and there is data and there is methodology and methodology. And beyond all that is life and death. The WHO report has not gone down well with the Indian authorities. “Preposterous” and “untenable” are some of the adjectives that have been levelled by the chief of India's Covid Working Group, N.K. Arora. He has defended the “robust system” of civic registration instead, spoken about the Indian definition of Covid death and how 40 lakh people had not knocked at the government’s door for compensation, which would have been the case if the WHO figures were accurate. The Union health ministry started to talk about “mathematical models” and if at all they should be used while projecting excess mortality numbers. Data based on hearsay evidence, said AIIMS Delhi director, Randeep Guleria.

We are disappointed

NITI Aayog member (health) Dr V.K. Paul said, “We are disappointed with what WHO has done.” One would think even the dead are disappointed, Mr Paul. So what if there were not so many of them as the WHO claims? So what if some of them did not suit this parameter or that, or if they had a comorbidity too many? I bet they are disappointed that no one took this opportunity to say — “We don’t agree with these numbers but we agree that we lost many of our own. We grieve their deaths — parents, children, siblings, spouses. We will take cognisance of every opinion from every corner of the world that can help us do better in these fragile times. And hereafter, on such and such date, we shall observe a minute’s silence nationwide in their memory. We shall grieve in unison and work while we grieve because the pandemic has taken away much but it has also left behind learnings.”

No one said as much.



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