A doctors" body in Kashmir on Wednesday claimed that the COVID-19 death toll was higher in the Valley than what was being reported.
It claimed that the official count of COVID-19 fatalities in the valley is an underestimate and only provides a snapshot of the "true" death toll.
"Many COVID-19 deaths go unreported in Kashmir," Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK) president Dr Nisar ul Hassan said.
Hassan said many people with coronavirus symptoms do not get themselves tested because of the fear of stigma and quarantine of family members.
"Social stigma makes people hide their illness and keep them away from seeking health care," he said.
Hassan said people also fear that if they die of COVID-19, they will not get a "decent burial".
"As a result, people are choosing to die at home, unrecorded," he claimed.
"Another apparent deterrent to testing is widespread conspiracy theories about the virus. People believe that COVID is a hoax and the virus is fabricated," he added.
The DAK president said while hospitalisation and the death rate is higher among the elderly people, many are not tested for coronavirus.
"Older people don"t develop typical COVID symptoms. In them, feeling weak or confused may be the only sign of having the infection," he said.
Hassan said, "Many patients with heart or lung disease die of COVID, but their death is attributed to their underlying condition."
The Kashmir valley has witnessed over 180 deaths of COVID-19 patients so far.