• According to the most recent estimates by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), the Covid-19 pandemic has emerged the biggest cause of death in India.
  • IHME is an independent global health research centre at the University of Washington, US.

Important points:

  • India has recorded more than 19 million cases of coronavirus-second only to the US and has confirmed more than 2,15,000 deaths.
  • The human toll of the pandemic is more than double the number of humans killed in over 320 natural disasters during the recent two decades (2000-2019).

Other Top Causes of Deaths in India:

  1. Ischemic heart disease (second),
  2. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (third),
  3. Strokes (fourth),
  4. Diarrhoeal diseases (fifth),
  5. Neonatal disorders(sixth),
  6. Lower respiratory infections (seventh),
  7. Tuberculosis (eighth),
  8. Diabetes mellitus (ninth) and
  9. Chronic liver diseases, including cirrhosis (tenth).


  • The ‘double mutant’ B.1.617 Indian variant of SARS-CoV-2 has heightened risk.
  • Lives have been lost due to the lack of preparedness of governments, India’s poor health infrastructure, lack of medical oxygen and even medicines.
  • The Centre and state governments have been accused and held responsible by the Supreme Court and High Court for undermining the scale of crisis and failure to manage it.
  • Experts have also been unhappy with India’s Covid-19 vaccine procurement and pricing policy. States have to await their quota of vaccines.

Way Forward

  • The IHME advises governments to impose strict physical distancing norms for six weeks at least once deaths cross 8 per million.
  • The Supreme Court advised both Centre as well as states to resort to lockdowns if needed but to also ensure livelihoods weren’t impacted.


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