According to government data, when COVID-19 infections surged in India in April and May of last year, the western city of Ahmedabad officially recorded at least three times as many total deaths in those two months than in the previous two years.
The report, which was provided by Ahmedabad’s municipal administration to a public-information activist and shared with Reuters on Thursday, does not specify the cause of the deaths, but it appears to back up assertions by numerous health experts that India undercounted COVID-19 deaths.
According to the figures, 30,427 people died in April and May 2021, compared to an average of 8,337 in the preceding two years for the same time.
According to data from Gujarat’s health ministry, less than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths occurred in those two months last year.
Ahmedabad is the capital of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, which has registered 10,942 COVID-19 fatalities since the outbreak began, despite having granted at least 87,000 compensation claims due to the virus.
“I have been given the data after a prolonged legal battle,” said the activist, Pankaj Bhatt. “This itself shows that the authorities were trying to hide something and did not want to reveal the real picture or the scale of the tragedy.”
On the condition of anonymity, a Gujarat health official denied any attempts to conceal the true COVID-19 toll. Manoj Aggarwal, the state’s health secretary, declined to comment.
When a sharp increase in cases began in March of last year, places like Ahmedabad and New Delhi faced severe shortages of medical oxygen, ambulances, and hospital beds, many Indians died at home, in parking lots, and on their way to the hospital.
India has reported 43 million infections, second only to the United States, with 521,000 deaths to date. Only three countries have reported more deaths: the United States, Russia, and Brazil.
However, some public health professionals think that India’s death toll is higher than 3 million.
The federal government has repeatedly urged states to update their data as needed, dismissing charges of widespread undercounting as “ill-informed and speculative.”
(Adapted from USNews.com)