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India says WHO methodology for estimating Covid-19 deaths is ‘flawed and unscientific’

The mathematical modeling used by the World Health Organization WHO in its estimates of Covid-19-related deaths is based on flawed assumptions. It is unscientific, the government in India has said, raising strong objections to the methodology.

India rejects the WHOs “one-size-fits-all” approach because, while it may apply to smaller countries, it cannot be used in a vast and diverse country like India, where there have been different trajectories of cases in several states and at different times during the pandemic, India’s Health Minister Bharati Pravin Pawar said in a written statement, the Times of India reports.

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“The WHO’s mathematical modeling approach has several inconsistencies and flawed assumptions,” Pawar said in his written response.

WHO in Geneva. (Photo internet reproduction)
WHO in Geneva. (Photo internet reproduction)

The minister said WHO has been asked to explain the unscientific approach, in which its estimates are based on a dataset of only 17 Indian states, collected at different points in time and extrapolated to the entire country.

WHO acknowledges its modeling has many limitations, such as the number of representations and generalization of variables used for systematically different settings.

The Central Council for Health and Family Welfare, a representative body of health ministers from all Indian states and territories, also passed a unanimous resolution condemning the WHO methodology and authorizing ministers to communicate their collective disappointment to WHO.

India “strongly objected to the process, methodology and results of this unscientific modeling method, especially when India has provided WHO with truthful data published by the Indian Registrar,” Pawar added.

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