Episode 77: The Gaping Holes In India’s Death Statistics

Rukmini S
1 min readJun 20, 2020


Hello and welcome to The Moving Curve. I’m Rukmini, a data journalist based in Chennai. Every night on this mini-cast, I consider one question around the novel coronavirus epidemic in India. Tonight I’m asking this one — are excess mortality statistics the way to go for us?

The article I did for IndiaSpend on the pursuit of excess mortality statistics is here.

The United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics’ most recent report on excess mortality is here.

The episode where I interviewed Dr Prabhat Jha of the Million Death Study is here.

This is Dr Usha Ram.

It’s grim, but all hope is not lost. I know that researchers around the country including Dr Ram and her colleagues are working on better ways to estimate covid mortality and I’ll keep reporting on that, but for now, it makes sense to be pragmatic about the foundations that we’re building on.

Thank you for listening. This episode was edited by Anand Krishnamoorthi. Tomorrow — a new question.