Half of Covid deaths in last fortnight — but fatality rate still low

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Written by Karishma Mehrotra | New Delhi | Published: June 7, 2020 4:05:38 am

At YCMH hospital on Saturday.

Since the first death in the middle of March, Covid fatalities in the country have moved to 6,642 in seven weeks with almost half of them (3,059) occurring in the last fortnight.

These deaths remain concentrated — over 80 per cent in 26 districts, the Covid hotspots. Indeed, Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Thane, Pune, and Chennai were the only districts with more than 100 deaths these past two weeks. They saw 1,964 deaths over this period, almost half of their total 4,055 Covid deaths.

But India’s case fatality ratio (CFR, number of deaths per 100 cases) still remains low — 2.8 per cent. Globally, the CFR is 5.8 per cent. In the US, it is 5.7 per cent, in Brazil it is 5.5 per cent, and in Russia it is 1.2 per cent.

Even though cases and deaths are mostly concentrated, they are spreading. In the last fortnight, districts reporting at least one death have risen from roughly 230 to about 320.

About 90 districts that had no deaths as of May 22 now have at least one. Most of these districts seeing their first Covid deaths are in Uttar Pradesh (18) and Bihar (13) — reflecting the spread.

Similarly, there are around 700 districts in the country (out of a total 736) that have reported at least one Covid case. That number was 630 on May 22, right after the country entered its fourth phase of lockdown with major relaxations in non-containment zones.

Other than these six major hotspots, 20 districts recorded between 10 and 100 new deaths over this period amounting to 594 new deaths — 43 per cent of their 1,375 total deaths.

The majority of districts (around 205) saw between 10 and one new deaths, mostly in Uttar Pradesh (40), Madhya Pradesh (22), and Gujarat (21). But while new districts are seeing their first deaths, the number of districts seeing large numbers is not changing significantly.

There were 200 districts that had between one and 10 deaths as of May 22, that number is now 275 districts. Roughly 20 districts had between 11 and 50 deaths. That is now 29 districts. Roughly five districts had between 50 and 100 deaths. That number is now seven. Six districts had above 100 deaths, while now 10 have that many deaths.

The Indian Express reported that less than five per cent of patients required critical care. In both high-burden and low-case load states, only 2.25 per cent needed ICU admission and only 1.91 per cent were on oxygen. This trend has maintained since the first cases came in.

Only the US, Mexico, UK, and Brazil have reported more daily deaths than India over the past couple of days.

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