Dr. Murad Banaji, a senior lecturer in Mathematics at Middlesex University, London talks on India Coronavirus Typhoon

By Karan Thapar

A senior lecturer in Mathematics at London’s Middlesex University, who has been closely tracking the trajectory of the Covid pandemic in India since its start in March 2020, believes that 80% of India’s Covid deaths are missing and have not been picked up by the official death count. As of the 8th of May, the official death count is just over 238,000 and Dr. Murad Banaji says this means that the total deaths will be five times greater, putting the enhanced total death count (official and unrecorded deaths combined) at one million.

This information was given by the Interviewer’s office in a press statement. 


It said: In a 33-minute interview with Karan Thapar for The Wire, Dr. Banaji also spoke about estimates by Indian and foreign institutions regarding how the death toll will increase in the coming months. He said an estimate by the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, predicting 404,000 official recorded deaths by mid-June, could very well be right and he does not believe it’s exaggerated.


Commenting on two estimates done by IHME in Washington, the first predicting 1,018,879 deaths by the end of July and a very recent one (released 2-3 days ago) predicting 1.4 million deaths by September, Dr. Banaji pointed out that the IHME estimates include both official and unrecorded deaths and, second, the IHME believes that unrecorded deaths will be three times greater than recorded ones.


It’s worth mentioning that IHME claims that by September when it expects India’s death toll to be 1.4 million, it will be almost 500,000 more than what the US death toll will be at that point. By September, the IHME expects the US death toll to reach 949,000. Currently, according to CDC, it’s just over 561,000.


In the interview to The Wire, Dr. Banaji also explains why India’s Covid death count is so poor and also why it’s not easy to estimate the Indian Covid death count by calculating excess deaths, a practice that is quite common in Britain and Europe.


This is a paraphrased precis of Murad Banaji’s interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire. Although recounted from memory it’s not inaccurate. Please see the full interview to appreciate the many different points made by Dr. Banaji. This precis has primarily focussed on his estimate of the total death count (official and unrecorded) as of today, 8th May. The full interview should go up on The Wire’s website around 6.00 p.m. today (8/5).



Video link to Karan Thapar’s interview for The Wire with Dr. Murad Banaji, a senior lecturer in Mathematics at Middlesex University, London: I believe one million Indians have already died of Covid. Here is the link:


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I Believe One Million Indians Have Already Died of COVID, Says Mathematician Murad Banaji

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)



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