.@MoHFW_INDIA has quickly come up with another #MythsVsFacts to "debunk" one more report highlighting India's #COVID19 deaths undercounting as they've done multiple times in the past.

As usual, the rebuttal itself is rich in myths & low on facts.
The original study by the @CGDev & authored by respected authors including Dr. @arvindsubraman, former chief economist to GoI, estimates that India may have undercounted #COVID19 deaths by 10 times. The study can be found here.
The major problem GoI seems to have is that this study "audacious"ly assumed the same international estimates of age-specific infection fatality rates (IFR) to Indian seroprevalence data ignoring the fact that the authors have used 3 different methods to derive their numbers.
Their central estimates ranged between 3.4m to 4.9m excess deaths with the international IFR-based estimate placing this excess death in between at 4m, making it 10 times the official estimate.
The authors also say "Our purpose in this paper has been to report--without in any way endorsing--different databased estimates". i.e., these estimates are only meant to suggest possible high undercounting & warrants the need for GoI to be transparent about true COVID19 deaths
However, after an outright denial of such excess deaths as pointed out by umpteen studies including this & the ones in the past, the PIB release goes on to propagate some really outrageous myths.
It says "India has a thorough contact tracing strategy. All the primary contacts, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic are tested for COVID-19."


This is a complete lie (myth?)
For a long time, ICMR guidelines had specifically stated that testing will only be done for symptomatic cases.

On record, AIIMS had decided to discontinue contact tracing of exposed HCWs due to insufficient resources and shortage of staff during 2nd wave.

Several states also classify daily new cases by contact patients & patients with no history. Obviously, this means there've been several cases throughout this pandemic whose source of infection is unknown, although GoI kept maintaining that there's no community transmission.
The PIB release also says "The true detected cases are the ones that test positive with RT PCR" giving the impression that most detected cases are through RTPCR. It doesn't say that only about 47% of all the covid19 tests done in India so far are RTPCR, "the gold standard"
It also says "Given the robust and statute based Death Registration System in India, while some cases could go undetected...., missing out on the deaths is unlikely"

Almost speechless!

myth vs. fact?

GOI's own data shows death registration is only 86% in India & the medical certification of those deaths is at an abysmal 21%. Need we know more?

It says ICMR has issued clear guidelines on appropriately recording covid19 deaths. True. But is that enough to say all deaths are recorded appropriately? No.

Hardly any states in India follow these guidelines while recording covid deaths & there has been no remedial action.
In fact, death audits were ordered by courts because of which some states were forced to audit and revise their reported COVID19 deaths.
"In his statement in Rajya Sabha yesterday, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare has refuted allegations of hiding COVID-19 deaths"

Ok, he refuted, so there is no undercounting!

Myth vs. fact?
And then it says "During the peak of the 2nd wave, ... correct reporting & recording could have been compromised " So, you are not confident and this is not the spirit of the claims you made earlier!
Then it says "the robustness of statute based Civil Registration System (CRS) ensures all the births and deaths in the country get registered". Yet, the CRS data
says the death registration is only 86% at the national level, 35% in Bihar & 61% in UP.

Myth vs. facts!
Please use facts while trying to debunk myths.
Instead, most of these #MythsVsFacts PIB releases throw in a lot of myths on our faces.
Also, if GOI doesn't like transparent & independent studies by academics that attempt to estimate the extent of undercounting of COVID19 deaths in India, they must themselves undertake a nationwide study to gauge the true COVID19 deaths & make it public.

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More from @RijoMJohn

18 Jul
Has #Kerala miserably failed in containing #COVID19 pandemic?

This is a question I keep getting from various quarters. This thread is an attempt to explain it.
1/ Image
Using the latest ICMR 3rd sero survey results during Dec 2020, we can see that #Kerala was able to identify & report one in every 5 cases, while all of India was able to identify only 1 in every 28 cases.

It shows the effectiveness of testing strategy used in Kerala
2/ Image
Testing after good tracing & tracking would make it much more effective. This may result in higher TPR, but it's a cost effective use of testing infrastructure

Kerala has not only done nearly double the number of tests per million but it had a much better case detection rate.
Read 13 tweets
12 Jun

1/ An article from @TheEconomist claiming that India's true #covid19 mortality maybe 5-7 times than the reported numbers has really irked GoI so much so @MoHFW_INDIA has now published a rebuttal that is short on substance but abundant on rhetoric.
2/ After using words like "speculative", "misinformed", "unsound" etc. to describe the article, the rebuttal interestingly says "there is no peer-reviewed scientific data available" for some studies used in that report.

I'm glad GoI takes scientific peer review seriously.
3/ Then why has it made claims on the safety & effectiveness of Covaxin without backing up with peer-reviewed scientific data?

What was the peer-reviewed scientific data based on which #Coronil got Ayush Ministry certification?

Thi list is actually long. So, I'll stop.
Read 15 tweets
9 Jun
Data thread on #COVID19Vaccine distribution across Indian states

*Age group:
HCWs & FLWs are among all age groups

Most of the limited supply should ideally go to the 60+ followed by 45-60 until supply is sufficient. Yet, a large chunk is going to 18-45 in some states

There is a considerable gender gap in the distribution of vaccinations in some states

88% of all doses so far were Covishield at the national level, followed by Covaxin. Sputink already distributed in some states such AP, TS, MH, KA, KL, & WB.
Read 5 tweets
8 Jun
1) #Kerala's #COVID19 mortality rate has been consistently increasing over the past month after reaching a low of 0.3%. Still one of the lowest in India.

Total reported #COVID19 deaths are at 10,157, the 10th largest in India.
2) There are concerns of underreporting of deaths with mortality rates being significantly different across districts ranging from 0.1% to 0.8%.

During the 2nd wave from March 18 in KL, the share of total cases from Trivandrum is only 10% while that of deaths is 22%.
Read 4 tweets
29 May
1/ This was the thing that greeted me on my WhatsApp today morning. Let's examine its utter folly.

Is India's Vaccine Maitri the reason we are getting all those foreign aid? I do not think so.

2/ First of all, of the total vaccine exports from India till y’day, only ~16% were sent as Grants by GoI. Others were all SII fulfilling its commitments one way or the other. GoI has nothing to do there or take credit for.
If anything, GoI had to stop SII from exporting further.
3/ Even out of this 16%, about 65% went to 5 of our neighbors (Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, & Maldives). The remaining went mostly to other low-income coutries.
Read 7 tweets
9 May
@MoHFW_INDIA is the official Twitter handle of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, GoI. It must a place to report accurate, realistic, & contextual info on the pandemic that is ravaging the country!

Has it done that? I do not think so!


There's been an undue emphasis on the cumulative numbers of #COVID19 vaccine doses administered, tests done, recovered cases, etc. without a sense of reality. India is the 2nd populous country in the world. So, the cumulative numbers for anything ought to be large!

Instead, @MoHFW_INDIA should instead answer:

What % of our population has been vaccinated so far?

What has been the pace of vaccination?

By when do you think the vaccination coverage can reach the target?

When do you think an ordinary citizen would be able to get a jab?

Read 7 tweets

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