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BJP questions WHO’s methodology of projecting COVID death estimates, says ‘source unverified’

Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday questioned the process of the World Health Organization (WHO) in projecting excess mortality estimates due to COVID, and said that the source of the data must have accuracy while also stating that the health body itself does not vouch for the verification of the source.

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New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday questioned the process of the World Health Organization (WHO) in projecting excess mortality estimates due to COVID, and said that the source of the data must have accuracy while also stating that the health body itself does not vouch for the verification of the source.

“There are certain flaws in WHO data. The type of methods adopted by WHO in the whole process is wrong. The source of the data must have the accuracy, while WHO has recognized that the source is not verified,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said while addressing a press conference here. Responding to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s accusation of the Centre lying on the COVID death data, Patra charged him with attempting to defame the BJP-led government since 2014.

“47 lakh Indians died due to the Covid pandemic. NOT 4.8 lakh as claimed by the Govt. Science doesn’t LIE. Modi does. Respect families who’ve lost loved ones. Support them with the mandated Rs 4 lakh compensation,” tweeted Gandhi.

“It’s sad that politics is being played on COVID death numbers. Look at the situation and population of our country. We have done better than the developed countries. Rahul Gandhi was the first person to tweet on the WHO data. He is trying to defame PM Modi. He has been doing this since 2014,” he said.

Patra further said that the party does not differentiate between the BJP and non-BJP ruled states and urged Gandhi not to “demoralise” the country.
“We did not want to have distinction over death rate in BJP and non-BJP ruled states. We have fought as one. We have won it. I would urge Rahul Gandhi not to demoralise our country. I will put forward some facts in front of the world,” he said.

Objecting to WHO putting India in the category of tier two countries in the world, the BJP spokesperson said that India has a robust system in place and takes it as an “insult” to find itself on the spot.

“WHO has said that they have relied on some websites and media reports with regards to deaths in 17 states of India. Can this be authentic? WHO has put us in a tier-two country. Why is it so? We have a robust system in place. Why are we in the tier two category? India takes it as an insult and we have said this is not right,” he said.

“India has, again and again, said that we don’t agree with the methodology of WHO with regards to death data due to COVID,” Patra added.
Meanwhile, India has strongly objected to the use of mathematical models by the WHO for projecting excess mortality estimates concerning coronavirus and has said that authentic data is available.

Referring to excess mortality estimates, the Health Ministry said in a statement that the validity and robustness of the models used and the methodology of data collection are questionable.

Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Dr Balram Bhargava on Thursday said the country has a systemic data pool and it does not need to rely on “modelling, extrapolations and press reports” for ascertaining COVID-related death.

“If one gets positive today and dies after two weeks, will it be a COVID death? Or if one dies after two months or six months of contracting the disease- will it be COVID death?” questioned Bhargava.

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