Officially, over 390,000 people have died in India from COVID-19, but families and health experts say that the number of deceased is a lot higher, according to a new report in the Wall Street Journal. The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation believes the true death toll in India may exceed 1.1 million, almost three times the reported number.
Health experts believe that one of the causes of the undercount was India turning patients away at hospitals during the surge of COVID-19 cases in April and May, as the healthcare system was overwhelmed. As a result, many people died at home without ever getting tested.
India was the first to detect the high infectious Delta variant which has fueled surges around the world. Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, told the WSJ that ensuring the number of infections and deaths is correct is important to understanding how threatening new variants are.