Why did Mumbai's Covid-19 death toll jump?

11 months ago 51
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Mumbai: The coronavirus disease (Covid-19) related death toll in Maharashtra jumped from 41,28 on Monday to 5,537 on Tuesday, including 81 fatalities reported in the past 24 hours, because of the reconciliation of earlier fatalities. While Mumbai’s toll rose to 3,167 on Tuesday from 2,250 on Monday, including 55 fresh deaths, as previous deaths were added to the tally.

Why did Mumbai add 862 Covid-19 deaths on Tuesday?

On Tuesday, the Maharashtra government added 1,328 Covid-19 related missing deaths in the state, including 862 in Mumbai alone, on Tuesday, as a result of the reconciliation of fatalities that occurred over the past week.

All civic bodies in the state, including the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), and district collectors were asked to ensure the reconciliation of the deaths that occurred in the last two months. In some cases, the updated toll data was not fed to the system, while in few cases there was confusion about the cause of the fatalities such as cardiac arrests or pneumonia and not Covid-19.

What are the cumulative Covid-19 deaths?

The total number of Covid-19 deaths that have occurred since the viral outbreak was first reported in the state. Maharashtra’s cumulative death toll is 5,537, including 3,167 in Mumbai alone.

Why isn’t the tally updated within 24 hours of a Covid-19 death?

This is because the report of a patient, who tested Covid-19 positive, is received from a laboratory after up to six days. Besides, the state authorities authenticate a private laboratory’s report, which, too, is a time-consuming process. In some cases, the reports are received after a patient has died of Covid-19, which leads to a delay in updating the daily toll tally.

“Admittedly, there are some lapses in our system. On June 13, we directed the authorities to rectify and update the data on an urgent basis,” said Bhushan Gagarani, principal secretary, Maharashtra.

What is the definition of a Covid-19 death?

According to the guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), every death of Covid-19 positive patient must be accounted unless it is caused due to some other major reasons such as trauma, suicide, burn injuries, etc.

What does the Covid-19 death audit committees do?

Maharashtra government has set up Covid-19 death audit committees at the district, civic bodies, and state levels. These panels review the medical reports, cause of the death, the line of treatment, and report it to the state authorities. In some cases, the committees decide whether or not to categorise them as deaths related to Covid-19.

Why are deaths of all those patients, who test Covid-19 positive, are not counted as a viral infection death?

All the Covid-19 positive patients, who have succumbed to the viral infection, are counted as casualties, unless they have died of other reasons like trauma, accident, suicide, etc., in line with the WHO guidelines.

What are the best practices on Covid-19 data collection?

State authorities claim that they are following the WHO and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines for data collection and regularly updating them. They pointed out at a report from Chennai about over 200 Covid-19 deaths missing from Tamil Nadu’s data. They insisted that the mechanism in Maharashtra is robust and their thrust is on reporting on all Covid-19 positive cases. “We’ve been reporting the highest number of swine flu and dengue cases in the country over the past 12 years, including up to 900 cases a year. This has been done meticulously to ensure that the health hazards can be tackled and eradicated at the earliest,” said Dr. Pradeep Awate, surveillance officer, Maharashtra.

Is there a possibility of more revisions?

Yes. because it’s a continuous process, according to the state government officials. There is a backlog of 5-6% cases for various reasons, including a lack of trained manpower, overburdened staff, and an absence of clarity about the cause of death, etc. “Over one lakh people tested Covid-19 positive in the state over the past two and a half months. This was happening for the first time in any state or even in the country. Naturally, we faced several difficulties. There will be periodic revisions in a bid to maintain transparency,” Awate said.

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