Research / BFI Working PaperJul 27, 2021

All-Cause Mortality During SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic in India: Nationally-Representative Estimates Independent of Official Death Registry

Sabareesh Ramachandran, Anup Malani

We estimate excess deaths in India during the COVID pandemic using monthly deaths in the sample of a privately-conducted, nationally-representative, large, panel data set. The data set includes roughly 174,000 households (1.2 million members) and spans January 2015 – June 2021. We estimate COVID is associated with 3.36 million (95% CI: 2.08-4.63 million) excess deaths, a 17.3% increase in the all-cause death rate, until April 2021. Excess deaths spike during the peaks of the 2 infection waves in India. The second wave is associated with significantly more excess deaths than the first. The age-pattern of deaths is skewed towards the elderly relative to baseline. 

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