Report: India’s deaths linked to COVID-19 could actually be 10 times the official toll

NEW DELHI — India’s excess deaths during the coronavirus pandemic could be a staggering 10 times the official COVID-19 toll, likely making it modern India’s worst human tragedy, according to the most comprehensive research yet on the ravages of the virus in the South Asian country.

Most experts believe India’s official toll of more than 414,000 dead is a vast undercount, but the government has dismissed those concerns as exaggerated and misleading.

The report released Tuesday estimated excess deaths — the gap between those recorded and those that would have been expected — to be 3.4 million to 4.7 million since the pandemic began through last month. It said an accurate figure may “prove elusive,” but the true death toll “is likely to be an order of magnitude greater than the official count.”

The report was published by Arvind Subramanian, the Indian government’s former chief economic adviser, and two other researchers at the Center for Global Development, a nonprofit think tank based in Washington, and Harvard University.

Climate action needed soon, Kerry says

LONDON — U.S. climate envoy John Kerry called on China to join America in urgently cutting greenhouse gas emissions and described the international alliances that rebuilt Europe after World War II as a model for fighting against climate change.

Kerry challenged global leaders to accelerate the actions needed to curb rising temperatures and pull the world back from the edge of the abyss. “Allies, partners, competitors and even adversaries” must work together, he said during a speech at London’s Kew Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site where scientists are working to protect plants from global warming.

BRUSSELS — Belgium’s king and queen visited the flood-stricken town of Verviers to lead the nation in a minute of silence Tuesday to remember those who died, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a second tour of the disaster zone in her country and pledged rapid help to those who lost nearly everything.

Rebuilding what was damaged in last week’s rampaging torrents will take years and millions of euros.

“All means will be used,” promised King Philippe in his traditional address on the eve of Belgium’s July 21 independence day, which will be more subdued this year because of the disaster.

He and Queen Mathilde consoled those suffering in Verviers in the wake of the floods that killed 31 people and left about 70 people missing in Belgium. At least 170 people died in Germany, bringing the death toll in both countries to 201.

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