Edit: since people downvote anything that goes against their narrative, here’s a link.
> “For eight days, there was not a single grain in our house to eat and my sister became very weak during this time,” reflects Pooja Kumari, 15.
> “We were all worried about her deteriorating condition but due to our lack of money, we could neither feed her or get her treated at any nearby hospital.”
Its fairly straightforward. The number of deaths under a given circumstance have its natural uncertainty and fluctuation that's captured by its statistical variance. One compares the recorded deaths during Covid period against the typical number of deaths during a comparable situation, account for the natural fluctuation, what remains is the excess death that cannot be explained by natural fluctuation of these numbers.
With presence of Covid being the significant way in which the scenarios are different, it can be claimed with statistical accuracy which are the excess deaths that happened as a result of Covid, either directly or because of other factors influenced by Covid (Oxygen shortage being one such example).
That said, those close to the government and its agenda will leave no stone unturned to dispute and discredit this study. As long that's an informed, good faith and rational argument I dont mind at all. I do have serious doubts on whether majority of the disputing and discrediting will be based on good faith.
Ah! downvotes. Why am I not surprised.
It was weird being pro science and seeing this turn political. It really showed which of my friends could think scientifically for themselves, and which repeated what authority said.
A true pro-science position is to follow the conclusions from scientific observations wherever they may lead however uncomfortable that may be. Someone who is not pro-science but merely adopting the aesthetic of science will claim "obey the science" as though it's a doctrine rather than simply a tool.
Scientists are Authority, not science.
It was mind boggling how many scientists made this mistake.
Please don't post comments saying that HN is turning into Reddit. It's a semi-noob illusion, as old as the hills.
But which? That's an extremely important distinction because the correct response might be further lockdowns or the exact opposite. Merely knowing there were four million excess deaths, while tragic and important information, is not a useful guide for the response.
And discussion about the effects of lockdowns on the supply chain is part of that context.
The obvious inference many people will jump to is that the deaths are directly due to covid. It's important to remember there are other possible explanations.
Is that an attempt at sarcasm, or are you pointing out that the headline doesn't make you think it's 'from COVID'?
Because to my eyes, the headline very much describes a situation of excess deaths, including those indirectly attributable to COVID19.
A less misleading headline would be something like:
> 4 million excess deaths in India: caused by COVID or the response to COVID?
'4 million excess deaths in India: directly caused by COVID?'
Would leave it less politicised. TBH I'm fine with the headline anyway.
I have a strong suspicion that its only people reading the title in bad faith who will assume that the word 'caused' does not include all sorts of causations triggered by Covid, be it direct or indirect.
Since social media became widespread our society has possessed a well-oiled machine powered by human sentiment and the pandemic has filled that machine's fuel tank with liquid fear and suspicion. News sites don't exist to report the news, they exist to get your eyeballs on them whatever the cost and drive up their site traffic (in the case of most media outlets to serve more ads, in the case of the BBC it's an enormous part of the UK's soft power domestically and overseas).
Think of how many inaccuracies, oversimplifications, and claiming that edge-cases are the norm goes on in the press when it comes to our industry, the tech industry. How many times do we read unsubstantiated bollocks even from supposedly reputable publications about AI or cybersecurity, roll our eyes at the obvious inaccuracies, and move on to the next article about COVID which we suddenly take at face value as though our last reaction never happened at all? The truth is usually messy, complicated, and with hundreds of asterisks; it often cannot be made concise or useful to get eyeballs on ads. It certainly can't be concisely summed up in a five-minute article or judged as a binary true or false by the likes of Mark Zuckerberg.
That's not even mentioning the likes of the UK's SPI-B (a subcommittee of SAGE) which I think has acted very unethically in its approach of employing what in my opinion are abusive behavioural psychology tactics against the British population. The reliance on inducing fear among the general public to improve compliance statistics I think will be judged very harshly by future historians, and this deliberate emotional colouring of current affairs by public sector authorities won't just go away with the pandemic; a power once used is rarely given up voluntarily. The nice thing about conspiracy theories is that they give a feeling that at least somebody is in control however malevolent and that's actually a comforting thought to many, but I think the reality is that we've built an enormous machine that in an Asimov-esque way has run out of control doing exactly what we told it to do: optimise eyeballs on ads with engaging content. Nobody's really in control, and I think that's terrifying to a lot of people.
7.7% of India in 2019 is ~105 million, so if 4% of the poorest people in India starved as a side-effect of the pandemic, that’s still 4 million excess deaths.
I would be willing to believe 4 million deaths caused by any of bad harvests, loss of labour opportunities due to economic slow-downs in other countries, COVID directly, the response to COVID, or by diseases that developed economies would consider minor and easily remedied.
"Probably"? Is that pure speculation or are you basing it on something?
A year ago Oxfam predicted "By the end of the year 12,000 people per day [worldwide] could die from hunger linked to COVID-19."
There is quite a possibility it is.
- education (understanding how to slow the spread the virus with many not even wearing a mask when looking after family members who are ill)
- money (to pay for any medical care needed to treat COVID victims)
And in the poorer but non-remote areas you have population density and hygiene issues.
I’m not saying there aren’t going to be cases where famine is an issue. But it’s certainly not the majority killer — COVID is an effective enough killer on its own if it’s not handled carefully.
People may be living in villages, but fully reliant on city jobs for income to feed themselves.
I doubt even a distant relative will lend a hand to a starving person in India.
The society is extremely stratified. People just a step away on the income ladder live completely separate lives.
Yes it’s not much, but it can be the difference between life and death when you’re talking about starvation.
This is also part of the reason COVID is so rampant there.
And yes, I’m aware I’ve now reduced the discussion down to massive generalisations about a massive country with a diverse populous and I’m sorry. Obviously there will be a great many counter examples that disproves my point. But from the perspective of my friends and family who have other friends and family in poorer regions of India (and I do mean poorer by Indian standards not poorer but ours but relatively rich by Indians) what I’ve said is fair and accurate. Im sure what you’ve said is also true by virtue of the size of the country.
It takes a fortune for a village to send a man for work in the gulf.
Also because, although I agree with you, 99.9+% of BBC visitors don't care and won't click it, and some high proportion of the remainder won't have access to more than the abstract, another will immediately bounce because they clicked accidentally or didn't realise studies had lots of boring words and weren't YouTube videos of exciting lab experiments with white coats, etc.
"Excess deaths are a measure of how many more people are dying than would be expected compared to the previous few years.
Although it is difficult to say how many of these deaths have been caused by Covid-19, they are a measure of the overall impact of the pandemic."
As a further counterpoint, I'll use Norway and Sweden as examples. Sweden did not implement a lockdown, yet had a 10x worse per capita death count than Norway. If anything, this suggests that you'd need around 70-90% of the excess deaths to be attributed to something other than COVID, which feels like a heavy bar to clear.
Many pieces to this puzzle - generational living, skin tone and diet for example.
the situation is much more complicated. Looking at excess deaths
one can see that in Sweden despite high rate of death, the excess rate is very low compare to countries with comparable Covid death rates. The Norway and Finland are among the few exceptional countries who had negative excess rates.
Countries like Vietnam were very protective, and took very immediate actions. They faced both the first two waves quickly, and recovered fairly well for the region.
Unless you have an alternative explanation, it's a fairly reasonable assumption. In fact it's arguably more reliable in aggregate than trying to positively identify the cause of death for each victim, given the magnitude of the number. That wouldn't work for smaller effects though.
India economy has already been eroded with lockdowns and huge expenses on vaccines being given out for free, and now you have to pay those who died too.
India has announced plans for a third lunar mission, months after its last one crash landed on the Moon's surface.
The wastage of finances is in other areas. Full page advertisements by govt departments on nonsensical things. Useless litigations. Implementing big changes to laws and systems without proper discussions and studies. Awarding contracts to entities whose track record is a bad one. And so on.
India has become a morally poor nation and 90% of the citizens do not try to see and understand the big picture. They have on interest in spending time to learn what is happening in their nation and see what is happening in other nations and then question why we are doing things in proven wrong ways.
Indians believe more in what is circulated on whatsapp and facebook than if you get a bunch of Nobel winners to explain the truth.
The US has homeless problems too, but doesn't stop it from spending on the space program.
The science and maths of these things are quite well understood and one can give Bayesian credible bounds, or frequentist prediction interval bounds for these quantities.
I also have no doubt that those close to the government will no doubt try everything possible to deny, dispute and discredit these numbers because it does not show a pretty picture.
We have data of how many people died (from all causes) for every year from around 1960 to now, getting more accurate as time went on. Certainly for 2000 until now the numbers are very dependable.
We can graph it, see abnormalities, and have very accurate estimates of how many people are expected to die next year in any given country.
Suddenly, for the first time in many, many decades, the estimates from 2019 about 2020 were wildly low. In virtually every country in the world more people died than would have ever been predicted, and suddenly decades and decades of accurate estimations are out the window. Again in 2021 the deaths are way up.
How can you possibly explain so many "extra" or "unpredictable" deaths after decades of numbers that perfectly matched estimates based on previous years?
Indian data on deaths is so bad that deaths not being registered is par for the course. Your entire comment is built on the flawed assumption that data from dysfunctional countries like India is directly comparable to data from the west. It is not. A single death going unrecorded is highly unusual in the west. In India, not only do most indians die outside the hospital system but between 2 - 7 % of deaths are simply not recorded.
There is good faith incompetence and then there is deliberate cover up.
The government and their fanboys when describing government's purported achievements -- you are antinational, unpatriotic, treasonous to doubt our reliable data collected by our upstanding officials and members, you should go to Pakistan. Same government when questioned on Covid -- quality of data is very poor I reject all conclusions that do not show us in good light.
@eldaisfish I hope you are aware that the story that you have linked to points towards the rampant undercounting bias. The bias will only lead to gross undercounting of the deaths.
For those who cannot follow Hindi, what you see here is that the government is removing the burial shrouds over these shallow graves (thousands upon thousands) so that they cannot be counted from areal photography.
For some context
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALO0VjfxXDA (pardon the annoying and dramatic music)
Let me find something in English to give context on these shallow graves
For the 'bimari' thing, Shekhar Gupta a reputed Indian journalist covered that on his YouTube channel. Since I dont bookmark any of these, the links are little hard to find again. You can give it a shot by searching youtube and ThePrint. If I find time I can add a few other links that show the same.
UP government (a state that's run by the ruling party) was arresting and slapping terror charges (that allow holding the accused in jail indefinitely without trial) on those who were turning to social media to arrange oxygen cylinders for themselves or for their near relatives. The state government wanted to suppress the scale of their failure. In this particular case, the Supreme Court thankfully intervened and threatened the state contempt of court proceedings if anyone is charged according to these terror laws for asking for help on social media. You should have no trouble finding sources for this.
Galileo barely escaped alive from the Church.
Dont be surprised by what you see here.
Do you shut down a country, causing starvation and lack of medical care OR do you attempt business as usual with masks?
People are going to die, the question is how to limit it, and who gets priority.
So no wonder that the ruling party and those that are close to their agenda will take every steps possible to discredit the numbers.
The tobacco industry did and does the same to studies that demonstrated the harmful effects of cigarette via statistical studies. Galileo was discredited by the church ...
This is how the game is played
Really unscientific calculation: The death rate is estimatedly (4 million) / (0.67 * indian population) * 100 which makes the death rate 0.4%.
> In mid-April [of 2020], an eye-catching statistic appeared in the news: the number of people who’d been infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the California county of Santa Clara was 50 to 85 times higher than thought. While just 956 cases of COVID-19 had been officially recorded by April 1, the true number of infections was between 48,000 and 81,000, outlets reported.
> These elevated numbers were reassuring, some outlets noted, because they suggest that most SARS-CoV-2 infections are milder than feared—a point seized on by conservative political commentators and some of the study’s own coauthors as support for the view that restrictive lockdown measures are an overreaction.
Didn't pan out.
May-June 2020: 0.7%
Aug-Sep 2020: 7.1%
Jan 2021: 24.1%
July 2021: 67.6%
Which makes me think it's better, as it clearly ticks going upwards over time.
Add to it the spread of the narrative that cow urine and cow dung, whether you wallow in it or drink or eat it, its going to protect you from Covid, a narrative that's very dear to the ruling party, and pushed by their members in parliament and members in legislative assemblies.
The consequences were hardly surprising.
Gotta give points to BBC for being just as good as any tabloid out there: the headline says "crossed 4 millions" as if it were a fact, while it's obviously a range and the lowest estimation is BELOW 4 millions.
Population of India is about 1.3 billion.
Just to bring numbers into perspective.
It actually just shows that Covid is far from as dangerous as it is made out to be.
Many people in India live under 3rd world conditions in extremely crowded slums and towns. They have barely any medical infrastructure. The air quality in the bigger towns is abysmal.
If the exponential growths panic would be justified we'd have to see a way higher excess morbidity!
The truth is there is no exponential growth in reality because any growth hits an upper limit at some point. The western media wants to make us believe that no such upper limit exists or is so high that we can just assume exp growth. In fact all countries show dynamics indicating a rather low upper limit at which point growth ceases to be exponential and instead starts to either stagnate or decrease.
This doesn't really follow from your numbers.
If it did indeed kill 4M people, that's a nearly 50% annual increase in mortality for India, largely within a few months, despite restrictions and mitigations.
Did they even care to check for a small region if their results are plausible at all?
More importantly, their rate estimate does not taken into account obesity. US is at ~36%; India is at ~4%. As per Global Diabetes Atlas, estimated (not just diagnosed) prevalence of DM for US is ~9.3% and for India, ~5.5%. The translation of IFR needs to take into account of these factors, but they don't.
Per capita, India has more diabetes than much more wealthy countries.
This is the kind if a country it is. People may be dying from obeseti in the city, and starvation in the village just 100km apart.
For example the 2019 numbers subtracted from 2018 numbers wouldnt be zero. There will be some systematic trends, seasonal variations and some unexplained fluctuations. This requires some model fitting that uses not only past mortality data but also the usual macroeconomic data. Once you are at a point where you see that there are no systematic pattern in the error between the predicted number and the actual numbers, that this error is equally likely to be an over-estimate as an under estimate, then you would be in a position to use the model.
It's getting really tiresome to see propaganda day in and day out. Most people aren't afraid. Politicians, by their actions, aren't afraid.
This is all about keeping the fear cycle going and blaming people again for the failings of corrupt governments.
> The efficacy of a drug being promoted by rightwing figures worldwide for treating Covid-19 is in serious doubt after a major study suggesting the treatment is effective against the virus was withdrawn due to “ethical concerns”.
That its advocacy seems to be driven ideologically rather than scientifically is relevant, IMO.
War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Flagged is discussed.
That podcast addresses the claims against ivermectin and the double standards regarding the high bar for such a cheap and available treatment and the censorship surrounding it.
Trials do not refute anything, they can only prove that something works, never that it does not work.
You can prove something works but you can not prove something does not work. You might get a different result at different dosage, timing, some other random factor. You can only prove that it works in a certain setting and with a certain dosage.
It's like proving a negative.
For a nice example: water is normally not toxic. But in large enough quantities it is toxic. That doesn't mean that water isn't normally safe to consume, it normally is. But in certain circumstances it can be lethal.
Similar for other molecules.
"You can't prove a negative" is one of dopey philosophical slogans that are meaningless in practice. It gives undue weight to absolutes that do not exist in reality. The statement "money doesn't grow on trees" is obviously true, yet you can't logically rule out the existence of such a tree. What are the practical implications of this? None.
If we tested a hypothesis thoroughly, we can say that it is true or not true, not with absolute platonic certainty, but for all intents and purposes.
Have a good day, nevertheless.
I understand perfectly well how the process works. I understand your objection. It is not wrong, it is merely of no consequence.
Outside the realm of logical posturing, "evidence of absence" is valid. In the real world, you need to distinguish between there being "no evidence (but we haven't looked)" and "no evidence (but we have looked everywhere)" and everything in between. Any treatment starts out unproven, but as the evidence of absence mounts, the impetus to look even further dwindles, to the point where a treatment can be considered proven ineffective, again, for all intents and purposes.
This sort of mindset could be running and destabilising society. But, really, it isn't.
It feels to me obvious why millions of people, looking at their TVs, far away from the-reality-on-the-ground would be afraid and paranoid. It's less obvious why everyone isnt.
I think this says something hopeful about how governable and mature civilisation at-this-unprecendented-scale happens to be.
Straight from the study:
"Estimating COVID-deaths with statistical confidence may prove elusive. But all estimates suggest that the death toll from the pandemic is likely to be an order of magnitude greater than the official count of 400,000;"
But no one is adding this disclaimer, everyone is just parroting the 4 million number.
Another thing to ponder, if this amount of people had died, do foreigners really think Indian people would have sat silently? There may be underreporting or missing stats, but I doubt if it is a 10x difference.
> An order of magnitude is an approximation of the logarithm of a value relative to some contextually understood reference value, usually ten...
An order of magnitude seems to usually mean something at least multiplied by 10. 400,000 times 10 is 4 million.
In contexts, it's a way of expressing uncertainty. If I say "About a hundred, but I might be off by an order-of-magnitude," that means "probably between ten and a thousand, perhaps even as low as 5 or as high as 2000"
In the same context, if I say "I'm might be low by an order-of-magnitude," that means "between 100 and 2000"
Bringing that back to a number is nonsense.
Error bars are important.
A different poster pointed out other language in the article which DID estimate 4 million deaths more precisely, but that level of imprecision is exactly what scientists and engineers mean by "order-of-magnitude."
It's common for press to take a result with huge error bars, and to condense it to a number.
Yes? I mean, the UK has had 129k deaths and the government's approval rating remains leading the opinion polls of voting attention.
The statistical deaths of strangers just don't move the needle in politics.
Most of my Indian relatives and family (who all live in India) find this 10x under-reporting very plausible.
> We report excess mortality estimates from three different data sources from the pandemic’s start through June 2021. First, extrapolation of state-level civil registration from seven states suggests 3.4 million excess deaths. Second, applying international estimates of age-specific infection fatality rates (IFR) to Indian seroprevalence data implies a higher toll of around 4 million. Third, our analysis of the Consumer Pyramid Household Survey, a longitudinal panel of over 800,000 individuals across all states, yields an estimate of 4.9 million excess deaths.
If their (or your) complaint is with these actual methods of estimation, then pick on those, but the assumption that the study authors just want to Jedi mind-trick you into 10x'ing the official Covid deaths number is flawed.
I think it is legitimate to show why numbers quoted by this government (in particular, but its largely true in general) is distrusted. The examples that I quoted are publicly available and very overwhelmingly typical.
I think a corollary of free speech is that the community should contest and call out misinformation.
The same government and the ruling party on their claimed achievements -- how dare you question our rock solid reliable numbers. You must be a traitor, unpatriotic, anti-national, tukde-tukde-gang-urban-naxal-protest-jeevi, why dont you go to Pakistan.
We need you not to do that here regardless of how wrong someone else is or you feel they are. Actually your entire comment was flamewar - using sarcasm to sharpen political points, ridiculing opponents, and so on. None of that is ok, and being right (or feeling that you are right) does not entitle you to do it.
The purpose of adding a link to a Google query was to address this specific misapprehension and criticism. Those are literally the official responses by the representatives of the government.
It only goes on to show how bad the situation is that lifting statements from the official party line gets interpreted as bad faith sarcasm.
To give an example, if I write
Early Indian scientist unsullied by western corruption could transplant face of an elephant on a human being. -- Indian Prime Minister.
I don't think 'both sides were at fault' does justice.
Edit: it was even the same user you were flaming. This is seriously not cool.
btw you implied i would be banned, but not the other user. What makes me special?