“Inaccurate,” is how a scientist, part of a World Health Organisation (WHO) team computing the global death toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, described India’s objections to the method used. A forthcoming WHO analysis reportedly computes India’s true toll to be much higher than official estimates.

The Union Health Ministry on Saturday, in response to article, “India is Stalling the WHO’s Efforts to Make Global Covid Death Toll Public” on the same day in The New York Times (NYT), raised objections to the methodology used by the WHO to compute excess deaths.

So far, the WHO hasn’t officially released estimates for India but the NYT claims the health body as having computed 15 million deaths by the end of 2021, or more than twice the official total of six million reported by countries individually. Of these, India accounts for four million deaths, or about eight times the current official toll of 5.2 lakh (as of Tuesday), the report said citing unnamed sources.

The Ministry’s detailed statement said it was in regular touch with the WHO on this issue and had shared “concerns with the methodology”, along with China, Iran, Bangladesh, Syria, Ethiopia and Egypt to the WHO six times since November 2021.