Maharashtra records sudden spike in Covid-19 fatalities. Top official explains ...

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Over 2,000 Covid-19 fatalities were added to the national death toll, taking the final figure to 11,903. This comes after Maharashtra and Delhi, two of the worst-hit states in the country, added unreported fatalities to their respective death tolls after review.

The national capital’s death toll went up by 437 of which 93 occurred over the past 24 hours while the rest were added after a review of pending fatalities. Maharashtra added 1,409 more fatalities to its Covid-19 death toll of which 1,328 deaths were added to the tally after the reconciliation exercise. Together, Delhi and Maharashtra added a total of 1,672 deaths after reconciliation.

The addition led to a spike in Maharashtra’s case-fatality rate – defined as the ratio of deaths to the total number of cases – and now stands at 4.9, against the national rate of 3.4.

Sudden spike

Mumbai alone added 862 fatalities to its death toll on Tuesday with officials citing discrepancies in records filed from various counting centres, according to a Bloomberg report.

All of these cases correctly recorded Covid-19 as the cause of death but weren’t integrated into the master database, it said.

Why the mismatch?

Bhushan Gagrani, principal secretary, the Chief Minister’s Office, blamed lack of information in private hospitals and poor record-keeping in government facilities.

“The figures of the deaths have risen suddenly owing to the reconciliation of the figures. It is true that there was negligence to a certain extent at some level and it led to the mismatch in the figures,” he said.

He admitted that the data was not being fed as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines, leading to the mismatch.

“Some private hospitals did not provide us the information in time while in some government hospitals, the records about the deaths were not kept properly. In some cases, the death certificates had the mention of Covid infection as the cause of the fatality, but in hospital records, the entry was missing. When we realised the lapses we, last week, asked all the municipal corporations and district collectors to reconcile the data on an urgent basis,” he added.

Undercounting fatalities

Earlier, health experts had warned that India was undercounting fatalities as some states used different criteria. Like elsewhere, the actual numbers are thought to be higher as testing remains limited.

Tamil Nadu administration was recently under the scanner as reports of more than 250 unreported Covid-19 fatalities in Chennai surfaced. Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said that the government has nothing to hide.

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