The Centre may have scoffed at the latest the World Health Organisation (WHO) report about India underplaying its Covid-19 toll, but it became known as early as December 2021 that the Gujarat Government managed the numbers more than the scourge itself after the Supreme Court reprimanded it over the Covid death compensation.
According to the Gujarat Government’s latest data provided to the Supreme Court in February this year, it had received as many as 1,02,230 Covid-19 compensation claim applications and it had approved 87,045 claims from them for ex-gratia payment of Rs 50,000 per death.
While many more applications are still under scrutiny, these 87,045 Covid-19 death compensation approvals as of February 2022, are evidence that the actual deaths by the dreaded virus in the State were at least eight times higher. As against this, the official death toll in Gujarat ever since the pandemic struck in 2020 was 10,579!
And going by the number of compensation applications already received by the Gujarat Government, the death toll was 10 times higher! And these are not WHO numbers, but the State’s very own.
What is more, payments have already been disbursed to 82,605 claimants so far out of these 87,045 approvals, according to a compliance filed by the Gujarat Government in the Supreme Court.
As reported first by Vibes of India in December 2021, the Gujarat Government maintained that it had not played down the numbers but the official definition of a Covid-19 death was changed and the Supreme Court had issued directives on this basis.
Read Also: Exposed: Gujarat Government Did Fudge #Covid19 Deaths. Here’s The Proof.
Former chief minister Vijay Rupani is on record to say that the State Government counted the deaths according to the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), which had said that patients with comorbidities dying of Covid-19 should not be considered as deaths caused by the virus.
That the State Government was all along trying to play down the numbers is also evident from the fact that the ICMR had nowhere stated that comorbid patients dying of the virus should not be considered as Covid deaths.
Here is what the ICMR stated: “COVID-19 is reported to cause pneumonia/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)/cardiac injury/disseminated intravascular coagulation and so on. While such complications may lead to death which might be recorded as the immediate cause of death, it was likely that Covid-19 had led to such complications” and so Covid-19 must be recorded as the “antecedent cause”. In fact, the ICMR has also said that, “Robust cause of death information in a population is useful for understanding disease burden estimates, and explains trends in the health of populations.”
The Supreme Court in November last pulled up the Gujarat Government for introducing a scrutiny mechanism to process death claims, while it had clearly directed that the only requirement for claim eligibility is RT-PCR positive test and death of the patient within 30 days. All such people obviously include those with comorbid conditions and normal population.