Home Census Compensation for COVID Deaths Will Make the Census Cleaner

Compensation for COVID Deaths Will Make the Census Cleaner

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The extent of the COVID infection and the death toll are widely understood as indicators of government effectiveness, at least on the public health front. Hence the tendency to suppress the count of COVID deaths

The claim that few people care about the cause of death is a bit too general. Representative photo

What’s in a name? Which we call Corona; Will, by any other name, kill like cold.

So far, only a small minority have cared whether the cause of death of their loved ones was recorded as COVID or not. The reality of their loss overwhelmed them, not so much its cause. That is about to change, with the Supreme Court asking the government to institute financial compensation for death from COVID.

On the bright side, the 2021 census will now take place without any attempt to tamper with the data. And the underreporting of deaths from COVID would cease, at least prospectively.

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The claim that few people care about the cause of death is a bit too general. Three sets of people care, a lot. Epidemiologists want precise numbers on the extent and pace of the pandemic’s spread. They care about the accuracy of the reports.

Another group of people are those who have an insurance connection. There are a number of insurance policies that are worded so carefully that they rule out a previously unknown illness such as COVID from causes that would trigger an insurance payment. The most glaring examples are health insurance and mortgage insurance. Several health insurance plans initially refused to cover the cost of COVID treatment, but the insurance regulator then put a foot down and said normal health insurance plans must also cover COVID.

Read also : All COVID deaths must be certified, cash relief unlikely: center to SC

Another type of reluctance on the part of insurers that has escaped the regulator’s attention is mortgage insurance. A person who takes out a mortgage loan is encouraged to take out an insurance policy on this mortgage, on the understanding that in the event of the borrower’s death, the family could keep the accommodation, as the remainder of the loan repayment would be covered. through insurance. payment.

But it turns out that the fine print does more than play the heck. In most of these insurance plans, payment is conditional upon death occurring from a specified list of contingencies. Naturally, no one had heard of COVID before December 2019 and therefore COVID is not among the deadly conditions that would justify the insurance claim.

The insurance regulator should ban such policies that arbitrarily restrict the eligibility conditions for insurance claims. After all, someone buys home loan insurance to boost the monthly payment they have to pay to protect the rest of the family from losing their home in case the borrower dies, not in case the borrower dies because of it. of a specified set of causes listed in small print.

Read also : Stalin Asks Rs 1 Crore Aid For Relatives Of COVID-19 Victims

A third group of people who care about how the precise cause of death is listed are analytical philosophers, those who study language and debate, inconclusive, the relationship between names and what they mean and why they mean what they mean.

What does the census have to do, in any case, with compensation for survivors of Covid victims, you may be wondering. The relationship is not that complex.

The actual toll of a pandemic can only be measured as the difference between the actual number of deaths, for whatever reason recorded, and the number of deaths that should have been recorded, depending on the past trend. The difference is called excess deaths.

We have had reports of virtually every state government trying to underestimate the number of human lives due to COVID. If someone has had heart disease, contracted COVID, and died, the temptation is to blame the death on heart disease. The extent of the COVID infection and the death toll are widely understood as indicators of government effectiveness, at least on the public health front. Hence the tendency to suppress the count of Covid deaths.

However, that would do nothing to change the number of excess deaths. This number can be known either from the death registration data in the Sample Registration System (SRS) or from the census. In advanced countries, data is available almost in real time. In India, SRS data is available with a lag. The census, which is due to take place this year, would produce, whenever it takes place, data comparable to that of the previous census in 2011.

The census is a highly decentralized data entry system. It would be difficult to manipulate the data. However, this being India, it is difficult to be sure that the urge to reduce the number of COVIDs would not seep into the data compilation process, if not into the actual count. After all, the compiled data can be revised to reflect the true picture after public anger over COVID has been replaced by something else.

With a policy of financial compensation for those who are victims of COVID in place, no one would allow underreporting of the number of COVID deaths. Anyone would try to get a death certificate stating COVID as the cause. If someone returning from a testing center for an RT-PCR test for the coronavirus falls under a stray bullet from a crowd of drunken revelers brandishing their guns and firing aimlessly in the air, and the test is positive, relatives would try their preferable level to obtain a COVID death certificate.

Read also : Rahul denounces the Center for refusing to compensate relatives of COVID victims

In other words, ending COVID deaths would be history. The fight would be to stop the hype. And it’s a political minefield. If, in trying to eliminate fraudulent claims, some genuine claimants are kicked out, or someone who does not deserve the compensation gets it, because some strategic palms have been greased, the public’s anger would rise. So, politically, it would be prudent to compensate the most, and set the amount of compensation at a low level.

It would not be a terrible disaster for the government to shell out a large sum in compensation. Suppose you were to pay compensation for 15 lakh of people which is almost four times the official death toll, and pay each family ₹ 1 lakh as compensation, the bill would be only 15,000 crore of Rs. You could double that compensation amount and it would still cost you half of the allowance called the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

Count it as part of the stimulus bill. If the poor were compensated for the loss of their breadwinner, they would spend the money over a period of time, rather than accumulating it. This would increase the demand in the system and encourage recovery.

And people who get compensation would be grateful. Those who see the deserving being compensated would feel that the system is working and would approve. And India would get a realistic census and reliable epidemiological data.

The government would do well not to try to evade compensation for the families of those who die from COVID.

(The federal government seeks to present views and opinions from all sides of the spectrum. The information, ideas or opinions contained in the articles are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the federal government)


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