New Delhi, May 02 : Medical experts and frontline workers are casting doubt over India’s official COVID-19 death toll as the country passed its four hundred thousand lakh mark in a day, the highest number in any country across the globe.
A report released by Kashmir Media Service said, the authorities reported 401,993 new cases in the past 24 hours, after 10 consecutive days of more than 300,000 daily cases. Officially reported deaths jumped by 3,523, taking the country’s total toll to 211,853, while the actual number of deaths as per medical experts, frontline workers and international media could be 10 times higher than reported by Indian health ministry.
A New York Times investigation published this week found “mounting evidence” that suggested fatalities are being “overlooked or downplayed” by the government. “It’s a complete massacre of data,” Bhramar Mukherjee, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan, told the Times. “From all the modeling we’ve done, we believe the true number of deaths is two to five times what is being reported.”
Experts interviewed by Reuters have suggested the death toll could even be between five to 10 times higher than what is being reported.
A Sky News investigation found that deaths were being underreported in several crematoriums across the capital, New Dehli. The TV citing Funeral workers said that they’ve “been told to give [lower] numbers by higher authorities.”Dr Manas Gumta, the General Secretary of the Association of Health Service Doctors, West Bengal, told the Observer this week: “A huge suspected COVID-positive population is certainly staying away from the tests. I believe the actual number of people dying of COVID is two to three times higher than what the government is reporting.”
As COVID-19 deaths surge in the country, crematory workers say they have become overburdened. Some cities have turned parks and parking lots into makeshift crematoriums to keep up with the abundance of bodies.
In the Seemapuri crematorium in New Dehli, the staff has been so overwhelmed they’ve launched a ticketing system, CNN reported.
Jitender Signh Shunty, who runs a service in New Dehli, told Insider he’s getting only two hours of sleep a night. “These days I don’t even get two hours of sleep,” he said. “At 7am I come here, I start dispatching ambulances, or I arrange for a dead body to be picked up, then get it cremated.”
Shunty, who says he used to only cremate 10 bodies a day, now estimates that number to be around 90. “I can work 21 out of 24 hours a day – I am not the kind of person who breaks down easily,” Shunty added. “But in this wave of the coronavirus, I’ve seen the dead bodies of small children and women who have become widows at a young age. They all have died for no good reason.”
At the time of writing, India has reported more than 19 million cases and more than 211,000 coronavirus deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to a tracker by Johns Hopkins University.
Interestingly, the Time magazine, which has been all praise for Narendra Modi-led India by describing him sometimes as ‘Modi means business’, now is openly calling Modi ‘India’s Divider in Chief’ and ‘India in Crisis’ in its title stories.
Having quoted the international media, the KMS report concluded that crumbling healthcare system in the face of Covid surge have blew the lid off the so-called shinning India. TV visuals showing hapless people crying in front of hospitals for want of oxygen has exposed the real picture of so-called digital India, it said adding that countless Indians are turning to social media to send out heartbreaking SOS messages for a hospital bed, medicine, some oxygen to breathe.