A month after India started to crawl out from under the weight of its horrific third COVID-19 wave, a new report suggests the situation was far worse than has been reported. According to the Indian government’s chief economic adviser, the true extent of the death toll in the country is likely 10 times higher than the 414,000 official deaths attributed to the pandemic. The report suggests that the estimated excess deaths, which it defines as those recorded and those that were expected, is more likely between 3 million and 4.7 million between January 2020 and June 2021. Many of those who died in homes were buried or cremated privately, and not recorded as official COVID-19 deaths. The report said an accurate figure will in all likelihood “prove elusive” and that the true picture may never fully emerge. “True deaths are likely to be in the several millions not hundreds of thousands, making this arguably India’s worst human tragedy since Partition and independence,” the report said, referring to the bloody battle for independence in 1947 that saw more than one million people slaughtered.
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