An estimate by researchers associated with the World Health Organization (WHO) of the death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic in India has raised several questions in the country. Although the purpose of the exercise was to obtain a figure for the global death toll, the Indian government has objected to the numbers relating to excess mortality in India during the pandemic years, and has reportedly sought to delay the release of the estimate. It appears that the WHO estimate, using secondary data, estimated the likely number of excess deaths at 4.7 million during the pandemic. This is a very heavy death toll, and it is on the high side compared to other such estimates of excess mortality. There are thus legitimate questions that can and should be asked about the methodology underlying these statistics, and this estimate should not be taken as the last word on the subject.
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