New Delhi [India]March 11 (ANI): The Indian government on Friday released a recently published article in a “reputable international magazine” that gave estimates of excess mortality of all causes for a number of countries based on a mathematical modeling exercise, saying the report is “speculative” and “misinformed”. . ” The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a statement issued today that the study has concluded that although reported deaths from covid-19 between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2021 amounted to 594 million worldwide, but an estimated 182 million (95 percent uncertainty range 171-196) people died worldwide due to the covid-19 pandemic (measured as excess mortality) during that period.
This is yet another estimate of excess mortality due to covid-19 by another set of researchers, the ministry said.
“Mathematical modeling technology is essentially a process of creating a mathematical representation of a reality scenario to make a prediction. Such predictions are based on a certain set of inputs either based on real scenarios or approximations of these (which may vary in accuracy according to that technology used) input data that is not available “, said the ministry.
It went on to say, “Often these studies involve taking a relatively small actual sample and extrapolating the result to the whole population. Although this can give almost exact results for a small homogeneous country / region, such techniques have repeatedly failed to provide reliable results for a large, diverse population. ” According to the ministry, the study takes into account different methods for different countries and for India, for example, data sources used by this study seem to have been taken from newspaper reports and non-peer-reviewed studies. This model uses data on all-cause mortality (created by another model that has not been reviewed by professionals) as input and this raises serious concerns about the accuracy of the results of this statistical exercise, the ministry said.
It further said that “strangely enough” the method adopts data from newspapers at different intervals to extrapolate (without any scientific basis) for the total study period. The pandemic had several increases during the period and varied paths across different states (including sub-state level) at any one time, therefore the methodology used by this study is less than robust, the ministry said.
Chhattisgarh’s mortality has been calculated from an article assuming that 40 times more deaths occurred in April and May 2021. For states where the civilian registration system was available, reported deaths during the pandemic were compared with average reported deaths for the same period in 2018 and 2019, which did not takes into account several initiatives for pandemic management including locking, containment zones, testing and contact tracking, wider dissemination and implementation of clinical management protocols and the world’s largest vaccination campaign, which forms the basis for pandemic management in the country.
According to the ministry’s statement, detailed guidelines for reporting deaths due to covid-19 have been issued by the Union Ministry of Health to all states / UT. On May 10, 2020, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) issued “Guidance for the appropriate registration of COVID-19-related deaths in India”.
It stated that the reporting of deaths is regularly done in a transparent manner and that it is publicly updated daily on the website of the Ministry of Health of the Union. Even the backlog of COVID-19 mortality data submitted by the states at various times is regularly reconciled in the data of the Government of India. In addition, there is a financial incentive in India to report deaths in COVID-19 as they are entitled to monetary compensation. Therefore, the probability of underreporting is less.
It is noted that the authors themselves have acknowledged that “direct measurements would be preferable to modeled estimates of excess mortality that are not based on mortality data of all causes, which are usually more robust, from the sites themselves.” Furthermore, the ministry said that they have mentioned that “as studies from a few selected countries including the Netherlands and Sweden have suggested, we suspect that most of the mortality during the pandemic is from covid-19. However, sufficient empirical evidence is lacking in most countries. on the large amount of heterogeneity in epidemiological profiles between countries, it is wise not to make such strong assumptions before more research on this topic has been done. ‘ “and” As more information becomes available in the near future, further improvements in our estimates are warranted. ” And that “different drivers are responsible for the changes in all causes and cause-specific mortality in a population. Therefore, in estimating excess mortality due to covid-19, the roles of interfering with changes in mortality during the pandemic should be resolved.” “They themselves have acknowledged that “Finally, the development and expansion of SARS-COV-2 vaccines has significantly reduced mortality among people infected with the virus and among the general population. As a result, we expect trends in excess mortality due to covid-19 to change over time as vaccination coverage increases among populations and as new variants emerge. be of great value in continuing to estimate excess mortality over time as these and other factors change, “the ministry said.
It emphasizes that citing issues as sensitive as death, such as during an ongoing global public health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, should be addressed with the facts and with the sensitivity required, the ministry said, adding that this type of speculative reporting has the potential to create panic in society, can mislead people and should be avoided. (ANI)