Union Home Minister Amit Shah, while addressing a gathering in Gujarat's Gandhinagar, claimed that there were no deaths during the COVID-19 third wave in the state.
Shah, who was visiting Gandhinagar to inaugurate and lay foundation stones of a slew of projects worth Rs 350 crore, attributed this to the state and central governments' vaccination efforts.
He spoke in Gujarati and said (at timestamp 1.35 in the video below), "During COVID times, BJP's Gujarat government, out of all [states] in India, held an example-worthy vaccination drive, and made the state's population safe. Because of this, even when the third wave came, no one lost their life. And many people got saved during the third wave too."
The Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, during a press briefing on March 3, 2022, demarcated the time period of the third surge of COVID-19 cases in India as January 4, 2022 to February 14, 2022 or 42 days.
Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare presented official data at the briefing showing that India lost 27,118 people to COVID-19 during the Omicron variant-driven third wave.
For state-wise data, FactChecker referred to covid19bharat.org, which is a continuing daily dashboard of COVID-19 cases and deaths in India disaggregated by states and their respective districts. During the 42 days of the third wave, between January 4 and February 14, there were 699 COVID deaths in Gujarat.
The data prove that Amit Shah's claim of no lives lost in the third wave does not check out.
Between January 29 and February 5, 2022, Gujarat had an average of 33.67 deaths every day, with the highest single-day death toll during the third surge being reported on February 1, 2022 — 38.
Cases during this wave peaked during January 18-25, 2022, with the highest number of cases (3.47 lakh) registered on January 20, 2022. Then, the number of deaths in Gujarat averaged at around 17 per day.
FactChecker tried reaching out to Amit Shah's office via call and email. This story will be updated as and when a response is received.
Misquoted by Media
While the Union minister said there were no deaths reported in Gujarat during the third wave, two news outlets misquoted him. TV9Gujarat, in a tweet, quoted Shah as saying that COVID-19 vaccination drive resulted in "less death rate during the third wave".
Secondly, The Indian Express, in a news article on March 27, 2022, reported that Shah claimed that there were no lives lost during the COVID-19 third wave in India, when in fact, Shah just spoke of Gujarat.
"Shah claimed that the leadership of PM Narendra Modi ensured protection with vaccination to 130 crore population of India, as a result of which "no lives were lost" in the Covid-19 third wave," the report read.FactChecker also reached out to Leena Misra, Resident Editor, Indian Express Gujarat bureau, to seek clarification on the news report and she refused to comment. We emailed and called the TV9Gujarat office, but hadn't received a response by the time of publishing.