Willie Nelson condemns the Texas voting bill as ‘un-American’ and headlines at the end of a four-day protest

Willie Nelson headlines protest against new voting legislation in Texas
Willie Nelson headlines protest against new voting legislation in Texas

  • Country star Willie Nelson headlined the final day of the four-day march against voting legislation in Texas.
  • Texas is one of several GOP-led states that have introduced voting bills following the 2020 election.
  • The protested legislation proposes several policies, including new ID requirements for voting.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Country music star Willie Nelson has headlined the close of a four-day march in Texas in support of voting rights.

Texas is one of several GOP-led states that has introduced voting and elections bills following the 2020 election – and masses have come out to protest as Democrats call them an attack on voting rights.

Nelson played a short set to close out the rally staged in Austin to close out the rally, which featured the star’s 2018 song, “Vote ‘Em Out.”

“It is important that we ensure the right for EVERY American to vote and vote safely,” Nelson said in a statement through the Poor People’s Campaign when he announced his participation in the rally in support of Democratic state legislators who bolted for Washington two weeks ago to block GOP-backed voting restrictions.

“Laws making it more difficult for people to vote is un-American and are intended to punish poor people, people of color, the elderly, and disabled – why? If you can’t win playing by the rules, then it’s you and your platform – not everyone else’s ability to vote.”

In addition to Nelson, Rev. Barber, the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the campaign, and Beto O’Rourke took the stage.

The voting regulations have been proposed in light of unfounded allegations that the 2020 presidential elections were fraudulent – despite the CISA stating that it was the most secure election in history.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has pledged to schedule a special session to pass the new voting legislation that includes new ID requirements to vote, a ban on drive-thru voting, new regulations for early voting hours, including a ban on 24-hour voting, and a ban on the distribution of mail-in ballot applications.

President Biden has previously stated full support for those fighting the new legislation, saying, “We’ll be asking my Republican friends in Congress and states and cities and counties to stand up, for God’s sake, and help prevent this concerted effort to undermine our elections and the sacred right to vote. Have you no shame?”

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Footage shows the last moments of the TikTok comedian who mocked the Taliban leadership being slapped around by gunmen, before being executed

Taliban
Taliban fighters have been seizing territory across Afghanistan.

  • The Taliban has admitted to killing comedian Nazar Mohammad, known for his humorous TikTok videos.
  • A viral video showed Mohammad being slapped in a car by two Taliban men.
  • The killing comes amid a surge in fighting as Taliban forces seize territory across Afghanistan.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Taliban has admitted to killing a TikTok comedian in Afghanistan after a video of him being slapped by two men went viral.

Comedian Nazar Mohammad, also known as Khasha Zwan, was taken from his home in the southern province of Kandahar and was later shot multiple times and killed. Images of his dead body circulating on social media.

Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed that the two men slapping Mohammad in the video were Taliban men and that they would be arrested and tried for murder, according to Al-Jazeera.

Mohammad gained popularity in Afghanistan for posting humorous videos on TikTok.

“Taliban forces apparently executed Khasha Zwan because he poked fun at Taliban leaders,” said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “His murder and other recent abuses demonstrate the willingness of Taliban commanders to violently crush even the tamest criticism or objection.”

Zabihullah Mujahid alleged that the comedian was a member of the Afghan National Police and had been implicated in the torture and killing of a Taliban man, as reported by Al-Jazeera.

He added that the Taliban men should have arrested the comic and brought him before a Taliban court rather than killing him.

Mohammad’s killing comes amid a surge in fighting in Afghanistan sparked by US military forces withdrawing from the country.

Since Joe Biden announced plans to withdraw in April, the Taliban has been seizing territory across Afghanistan, with one report suggesting they control 55% of the country.

While the Taliban’s territorial gains have so far been mostly rural, in recent weeks they have made gains in provincial capitals and seized border crossings.

According to Human Rights Watch the Taliban has been detaining, and often executing, people associated with the government or police.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen claimed that the group was under orders to not interfere with civilians or impose restrictions in newly captured areas. He said that any wrongdoings would be investigated.

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Rep. Madison Cawthorn tried to board a plane with a gun and loaded magazine in February

Newly elected U.S. Rep Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) speaks as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather by the White House ahead of Trump's speech to contest the certification by the U.S. Congress of the results of the 2020 presidential election in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC).

  • Republican congressman Madison Cawthorn tried to board a plane while carrying a gun in February.
  • Newly obtained records show that North Carolina’s Cawthorn was not fined or given a criminal referral.
  • Typically similar incidents would incur a fine between $3,000 and $10,000.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn tried to board a plane while carrying a gun in February, according to newly obtained records.

The incident came to light after FireMadison.com, a campaign looking to unseat the Republican congressman, obtained audio recordings and records of the incident from Asheville Regional Airport Authority.

Records revealed that Cawthorn was attempting to board a plane in Asheville, North Carolina, on February 15 when airport security found an unloaded Glock 9mm handgun and a loaded magazine in his carry-on.

After finding the gun, airport police questioned Cawthorn, secured the gun, and wrote a report. Cawthorn was not charged with a crime or fined.

Cawthorn was permitted to pick up the gun on February 22 after returning from his trip.

David B. Wheeler, President of FireMadison.com, said in a statement that the incident was “a serious violation of the law” and questioned why Cawthorn had not been arrested or fined.

“If you or I brought a loaded gun to the airport, we would be arrested, fined $10,000, and end up in front of a judge
to answer for our illegal activity,” he said.

Typically having a loaded firearm or an unloaded firearm with accessible ammunition at an airport checkpoint or on a plane carries a fine between $3,000 and $10,000 and a criminal referral.

TSA spokesperson Mark Howell told the Citizen Times that in almost all cases, those found to be improperly transporting guns face federal civil fines, and an elected official should not be excluded from the potential punishment.

He told the paper that Cawthorn’s case from February was “still pending” and declined to comment on it.

Cawthorn spokesperson Micah Bock said the congressman had “erroneously” stowed the firearm in his carry-on instead of his checked bag.

“The firearm was secured and unchambered. Rep. Cawthorn endeavors to always follow TSA guidelines and quickly rectified this situation before boarding his flight,” Bock said.

The 25-year-old congressman from North Carolina has gained a reputation for making controversial statements, including that Dr. Fauci should be prosecuted and that vaccine efforts could result in people’s guns and bibles being confiscated.

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Alabama doctor describes how sick COVID patients ‘beg’ for the vaccine but she can only hold their hand and tell them it is too late

texas vaccine covid
Medical staff member Gabriel Cervera Rodriguez raises his fist to celebrate after receiving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the United Memorial Medical Center on December 21, 2020 in Houston, Texas.

  • Amid rising cases of COVID-19, doctors are begging people to get their vaccines.
  • One doctor said, “it’s a choice between the jab or death.”
  • But anti-vaxx trolls are attacking these people online, making them nervous to speak out.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Whilst COVID-19 deaths soar in the USA amongst unvaccinated people, doctors have been pleading with people to get their vaccines.

Dr Brytney Cobia, a doctor based in Alabama, made a heartfelt Facebook post this week – sharing the potentially life-saving importance of getting the COVID-19 jab when offered.

“I’m admitting young healthy people to the hospital with very serious COVID infections. One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late.

“A few days later when I call time of death, I hug their family members and I tell them the best way to honor their loved one is to go get vaccinated and encourage everyone they know to do the same. They cry. And they tell me they didn’t know. They thought it was a hoax.”

Read more: The anti-vax movement is killing people, and the right-wing media is egging it on

On Thursday, Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama, who for much of the coronavirus pandemic resisted public-health measures, criticized her state’s unvaccinated population.

“I don’t know, you tell me,” she said when asked what it would take to get more people vaccinated. “Folks supposed to have common sense. But it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.”

Alabama has the fourth-lowest vaccination rate nationwide, according to a New York Times tracker.

Dr Cobia’s post attracted a lot of attention, with many praising her candid approach to sharing the lessons she’s learnt working as a doctor in the pandemic. However, others trolled her with insults and death theats – meaning she is now uncomfortable with giving any interviews to the media – reported an NBC reporter who tried to get in touch with Dr Cobia.

Hateful messaging were even posted on the reviews section of Dr Cobia’s Web MD page.

A screenshot of recent sham reviews of Dr Brytney Cobia, who is being trolled for begging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19
A screenshot of recent sham reviews of Dr Brytney Cobia, who is being trolled for begging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Dr Catherine O’Neal – a doctor in Louisiana – echoed Dr Cobia’s message in a news conference on 16 July: “I want to be clear after seeing what I’ve seen the past two weeks. We only have two choices: we are either going to get vaccinated and end the pandemic. Or we are going to accept death.”

A number of people on Twitter replied to the video of Dr O’Neal’s pleas, slamming it as “propaganda,” and that the Delta variant was “released” in order to re-up fear of COVID-19.

Currently, 40% of COVID-19 cases in the USA are in just three states – Texas, Florida and Missouri – with low rates of vaccinations, with1 in 5 cases in Florida alone.

Now, as the cases of COVID rise at an alarming rate – with 63,818 new cases recorded in the USA on July 22 – previously vaccine-hesitant Republican senators are urging people to get their jabs.

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Anti-vaxx conspiracy theorist tells rally that healthcare workers fighting COVID could face Nuremberg-style trials

Kate Shemirani speaks to thousands of protesters during the demonstration.
Kate Shemirani speaks to thousands of protesters during the demonstration. Demonstrators protest in Trafalgar Square, London as part of the Worldwide Rally for Freedom. Protesters are demonstrating against the vaccine passport, Covid-19 vaccination for children and a raft of other coronavirus restrictions.

  • Thousands gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square to protest the use of COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Kate Shemirani – a former nurse who was struck off – compared the use of the jabs to Nazi-era medical testing.
  • Several other high-profile conspiracy theorists spoke at the event, including David Icke and Piers Corbyn.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Mass anti-vaxx protests occurred in London last night, with one conspiracy theorist causing outrage for telling doctors and nurses that they could be tried and hung in Nuremberg-style trials.

Speaking at the protests were several renowned right-wing conspiracy theorists, including David Icke, Katie Hopkins – who just got refused entry to Australia for refusing to produce COVID-19 documentation – and Gillian McKeith.

The protest, dubbed a “worldwide rally for freedom,” in London’s Trafalgar Square was held five days after England lifted most of its COVID restrictions.

Read more: Gaia was a wildly popular yoga brand. Now it’s a publicly traded Netflix rival pushing conspiracy theories while employees fear the CEO is invading their dreams.

Kate Shemirani, a former nurse who was struck off the Nursing and Midwifery Council in June 2021 for spreading COVID misinformation, addressed the crowd.

She told them: “Get their names [of doctors and nurses]. Email them to me. With a group of lawyers, we are collecting all that. At the Nuremberg Trials, the doctors and nurses stood trial, and they hung. If you are a doctor or a nurse, now is the time to get off that bus… and stand with us, the people,” reported The Independent.

Shemirani’s comments have caused a major uproar – not just for endangering and undermining the efforts of healthcare workers in the pandemic – but also for their antisemitic overtones.

The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals held after World War II to convict Nazis of their war crimes, including six million Jews and other minorities for medical trials.

The documentation from the Nursing and Midwifery council’s case against Shemirani shows the scale of her conspiratorial beliefs – including stating that “you can’t catch a virus,” describing the “genocidal” NHS as “murdering patients,” and claiming that vaccines have been “rushed through” because “they want to kill you.”

Joining Shemirani was David Icke, an infamous conspiracy theorist who told crowds, “staggering numbers of people worldwide will die from the fake vaccination.” He added: “It’s the pandemic of the fake vaccinated.”

David Icke speaks to the protesters during the demonstration
David Icke speaks to the protesters during the demonstration

Piers Corbyn – brother of the former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn – also spoke, saying, “you’re much more likely to die or get ill from the jab that you are from COVID.”

The UK has one of the highest vaccination rates globally, with 80% of adults have received at least one dose and 55.4% both. These rates are linking to low hospitalization in the UK.

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Sen. Rand Paul confronted by foul-mouthed constituent during a virtual town hall meeting

Rand Paul
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

  • A Kentucky resident told Sen. Rand Paul to “get f—ed” during a virtual town hall meeting.
  • The interaction was posted on TikTok before being deleted.
  • Paul has been criticized for refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine and encouraging people to ditch masks.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sen. Rand Paul was told to “get f—ed” during a virtual town hall meeting.

The Kentucky senator was taking calls from constituents when one caller named Alexis Toon said, “Hi Senator, I’m a proud Kentucky citizen, and I just wanted to tell you to get f—ed.”

Paul and his aide momentarily pause before the aide says, “Alright, we’ll go ahead to our next question.”

Toon posted the exchange on TikTok with the caption, “for some unknown reason they called and asked if I’d like to join the town hall Q&A so I took the opportunity and ran with it.”

The video has since been removed.

It’s not clear why Toon took issue with the Republican senator, but Paul has often been criticized for the stances he has taken during the pandemic.

He has said he will not be getting a COVID-19 vaccine and has encouraged people who have had the virus or been vaccinated to “throw your mask away.”

COVID-19 cases have been rising in Kentucky in counties with low vaccination rates.

Paul has also often clashed with Dr. Anthony Fauci, recently butting heads during a heated Senate hearing on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kentucky senator will be up for reelection in 2022, running against former Kentucky state legislator Charles Booker.

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At the recent CPAC, attendees celebrated the failure of Biden’s goal to vaccinate 70% of adults. Now top Republicans have U-turned, urging people to get their jab.

Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., listens as the Senate Rules Committee holds a hearing on the “For the People Act,” which would expand access to voting and other voting reforms, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

  • A number of high-profile Republicans are now urging people to get the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Deaths from COVID-19 in the US are largely attributed to the unvaccinated population
  • Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville has said the jabs are “effective, safe, and don’t cost you a dime.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

High-profile Republicans are switching from a previous vaccine hesitant stance and now urging Americans to get their COVID-19 vaccines, as soon as possible.

Only two weeks ago at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, attendees cheered and clapped that Biden had not been able to”sucker” people and had missed his goal of vaccinating 70% of adults. Vaccine hesitancy on the right had metastasized into outright hostility.

But the mood music has changed again as the Delta variant rips through the red states where low vaccination rates are filling hospital ICU’s at an alarming rate.

On Thursday, Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama, who for much of the coronavirus pandemic resisted public-health measures, criticized her state’s unvaccinated population.

“I don’t know, you tell me,” she said when asked what it would take to get more people vaccinated. “Folks supposed to have common sense. But it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.”

Alabama has the fourth-lowest vaccination rate nationwide, according to a New York Times tracker.

Ivey followed a slew of Republican big-hitters to call for a greater vaccination urgency. Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell led this movement, urging people on Tuesday, to ignore the “demonstrably bad advice” which spreads mistrust of the vaccines, and said, “If there is anybody out there willing to listen: Get vaccinated.”

Read more: Meet the government worker who cut through months’ worth of federal bureaucracy in 10 days to help millions of Americans get vaccinated

Ron DeSantis – Governor of Florida, where 1 in 5 Covid cases in the USA are – told the public in the Trump heartland: “If you are vaccinated, fully vaccinated, the chance of you getting seriously ill or dying from COVID is effectively zero … These vaccines are saving lives,” he said during a press conference.

donald trump ron desantis
President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on November 26, 2019 in Sunrise, Florida.

Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville is another high-profile Republican exhibiting a change in tune. He took to Twitter July 21 to say that the vaccines are “effective, safe, and don’t cost you a dime.”

Joining the Republican U-turn, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) – who had previously attempted to block Senate funding for the COVID-19 vaccine in tandem with his anti-vaxx stance – received his dose of the vaccine, telling people they should get theirs and that it is “safe and effective.”

He added: “When you talk to people who run hospitals, in New Orleans or other states, 90% of people in hospitals with Delta variant have not been vaccinated. That’s another signal the vaccine works,” The Times-Picayune reported.

President Biden and the head of the CDC, have called the current state of COVID-19 in the USA the “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

Three strongly GOP states account for 40% of Covid cases – Florida, Missouri, and Texas – announced White House pandemic response coordinator Jeff Zients at a press briefing on July 21.

Rob Wilson, former GOP strategist and founder of the Lincoln Project, said on Twitter that he believes this change in tone is a polling strategy – the result of a realization that it may not be politically palpable to reject the vaccine whilst COVID-19 deaths and cases surge.

So far, less than half of the US population has had their COVID-19 vaccine, with 63,818 new cases recorded across the country on July 22 alone.

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Marjorie Taylor Greene said she would deport Chinese people who are ‘loyal’ to the Chinese Communist Party

marjorie taylor greene adam kinzinger
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

  • Marjorie Taylor Greene wants to “kick out every single Chinese in this country that is loyal to the CCP”.
  • The United States has a history of questioning the loyalty of Asian American immigrants.
  • Greene made the comments while speaking to Steve Bannon on his show.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said that if she was in charge she would deport every Chinese person that was loyal to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The Georgia politician made the comments while speaking to Steve Bannon on his “War Room: Pandemic” show, hosted by the fringe right-wing network Real America’s Voice.

“If I was in charge and I had my way, I would come down on China so hard,” Greene said. “I would kick out every single Chinese in this country that is loyal to the CCP. They would be gone. I do not care who they are.”

“I don’t care how much money you have, how much land you own, how many businesses you own, how much money you’ve donated to colleges and universities,” Greene said.

When Bannon asked whether this would apply to people like Chinese business magnate Jack Ma, Greene responded, “If they are loyal to the CCP, they go back.”

It’s unclear how she would determine who was “loyal” to the Chinese Communist Party.

Greene added that the US should not do business with companies aligned with the Chinese Communist Party.

“We should not be funding CCP companies,” Greene said. “We should not be doing business with an enemy that’s trying to kill us, did kill us this past year.”

Her comments allude to a conspiracy theory fuelled by top Republicans including Donald Trump that blamed China and Chinese people for spreading COVID-19.

The past year has seen a rise in hate crimes and harassment towards Asian Americans. Advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate said it received over 2,800 reports of hate incidents directed at Asian Americans in 2020.

A study by the Anti-Defamation League also showed that the pandemic corresponded with a rise in hate speech and harassment on social networks aimed at Asian Americans.

Earlier this week Greene made similar comments on C-SPAN, saying she would not give student visas to anyone who was “loyal to the CCP”. She also questioned whether China had “other bioweapons” similar to the coronavirus and what they are “planning to do with them.”

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Boris Johnson will isolate after public backlash following announcement that he will dodge quarantine rules

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

  • Boris Johnson was exposed to COVID-19 in a meeting with Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
  • NHS policy means that he should isolate for 10 days – but Johnson was part of a pilot study, meaning he can continue to work.
  • National outrage has meant he has had to perform a sharp U-Turn and remove himself from the pilot study
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In a speedy U-turn in response to public backlash, the British Prime Minister will be isolating after being exposed to COVID-19.

On Friday, July 16th, Johnson had an in-person meeting with Sajid Javid, the newly-appointed UK health secretary.

The following day, Javid took to Twitter to announce that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

On the morning of 18 July, Johnson was then “pinged” by the NHS COVID-19 app – a contact tracing app used to identify those exposed to Covid and therefore must isolate to stop the spread.

In contrast to common practice, 10 Downing Street announced that the Prime Minister and Rishi Sunak – Chancellor of the Exchequer – would not be isolating, and would instead be participating in a pilot scheme and going into his office to continue “essential Government business.”

However, mass public backlash caused this announcement to be reversed in less than two hours.

Sunak took to Twitter to announce that “I recognise that even the sense that the rules aren’t the same for everyone is wrong. To that end I’ll be self isolating as normal and not taking part in the pilot.”

When first announced on Saturday morning, Number 10 stated that the two Politicians would be participating in a pilot study to take daily COVID-19 tests rather than self isolate.

The announcement caused a significant fury on social media, with the topic of self-isolation already a sore subject with the British public as more than 500,000 people told to isolate by NHS Test and Trace in the last week alone.

In reaction to the news, #oneruleforthem was trending on Twitter, with people furious that the Prime Minister can bypass regulations that impact the public.

One teacher tweeted that her school class had to miss 10 days of school due to isolation following a COVID exposure.

Several workplaces – including 10 Downing Street – are reportedly participating in this pilot to see how the UK workforce can operate whilst the virus continues to circulate. However, the politicians will not be doing so.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister told Insider:

“The Prime Minister has been contacted by NHS Test and Trace to say he is a contact of someone with Covid.

“He was at Chequers when contacted by Test and Trace and will remain there to isolate. He will not be taking part in the testing pilot.

“He will continue to conduct meetings with ministers remotely. The Chancellor has also been contacted and will also isolate as required and will not be taking part in the pilot.”

This is the latest case in a string of Covid-related controversies involving the most senior of the UK Government.

On June 26, then-Health Secretary Matt Hancockstepped down from his positionafter leaked footage showed him kissing his aide in his office whilst Covid restrictions banned such intimate contact.

Last year, the senior advisor to Boris Johnson – Dominic Cummings – sparked national fury when it was revealed that he drove over 200 miles in a national lockdown whilst being positive for COVID-19.

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India’s true COVID-19 death toll could be as high as 2.4 million, 6 times the official figures, experts warn

india covid mass cremation
A mass cremation of people who died due to COVID-19 in New Delhi, India, on April 22, 2021.

  • Experts believe that India’s COVID-19 death toll is far higher than official numbers suggest.
  • One study estimates that between 1.8m and 2.4m people in India have died from the virus.
  • Reports suggest that Indian officials have attempted to suppress the true figures.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

India’s true COVID-19 death toll could be 5 to 7 times more than the official figures suggest, according to The Economist.

Earlier this year, the country was ravaged by a disastrous second wave of COVID-19, with widespread reports of hospitals overflowing and oxygen shortages.

The Indian health ministry claims that since the start of the pandemic, a little over 411,000 people have lost their lives to the virus. Experts now believe that the official figure is a fraction of the true death toll.

A recent paper by Christopher Leffler of Virginia Commonwealth University in America, cited by The Economist, estimates that between 1.8 million and 2.4 million people have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

If true, that would mean India has by far the highest COVID-19 mortalities worldwide. Currently, the US has the highest official death toll, with over 6o0,000 recorded deaths, according to the John Hopkins University.

Another study cited by The Economist, based on insurance claims in the Indian state of Telangana, suggests that the virus death toll could be six times more than the official figures suggest.

The Indian government has rejected these reports, claiming that they are not based on scientific evidence.

india covid second wave
A woman is consoled after her husband died due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outside a mortuary of a COVID-19 hospital in Ahmedabad, India, April 15, 2021.

Yashwant Deshmukh, chairperson of CVoter polling group, told The Economist that the misleading official figures were “not about capacity, but intent.”

“And it’s not about the central government or a particular party. It is about data suppression at every level, no matter who is in charge.”

According to Foreign Policy, the way the Indian government records COVID-19 fatalities has obscured the true death toll.

The first problem, according to the magazine, is that India’s death registration system already under-reported deaths before the pandemic. This is partly because many Indians do not receive medical treatment before passing and many deaths are not medically certified.

But some problems in registering deaths are specific to the pandemic. India’s official guidance states that if a person dies without being tested for the virus or had tested negative but displayed symptoms, their death should be classified as a “suspected or probable COVID-19”.

But officials from several Indian states told Foreign Policy that only people who had tested positive for the virus and then died soon after in hospital, with a clear disease progression, were counted as official COVID-19 deaths.

The magazine added that most states in India had established “death audit committees,” which examine death certificates to determine what should be classed as a COVID-19 death. In some cases, the deaths of people with comorbidities were attributed to those conditions rather than to COVID-19.

India has now mostly overcome its second wave, reporting roughly 40,000 new cases a day, according to John Hopkins University. At its peak, India accounted for roughly half of the world’s COVID-19 cases, according to the World Health Organization.

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