Delhi recorded 425 new cases of coronavirus and eight more deaths Friday, taking the case tally to 8,895 and the toll to 123. Of the total cases, 1,972 have been reported in the last five days.
The government, in its bulletin, clarified that the cumulative number of deaths so far are where the primary cause of death is found to be Covid-19. The deaths have been audited by a three-member committee formed by the government, which received case sheets and death summaries from various hospitals.
In the last four days, 50 deaths have been recorded by the state government — accounting almost 40% of the total casualties. Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain has however said many of these deaths had taken place earlier and the toll was being updated after hospitals shared death summaries.
An order issued by the government on April 20 stated: “The responsibility of the committee would be to daily audit each and every death in which the Covid-19 test is positive in government and private hospitals of Delhi before releasing the data.”
As reported by The Indian Express last week, the number of coronavirus casualties reported by Lok Nayak Hospital, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College and the Delhi and Jhajjar centres of AIIMS was significantly higher than the government’s health bulletin. Later, Jain had clarified and said that the hospitals were not sharing the death summaries on time.
On April 11, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) had issued guidelines for appropriate recording of Covid-19 deaths. As per the guidelines, Covid-19 would be recorded as an “underlying cause of death” when leading to pneumonia, cardiac injury and clotting in the bloodstream, among others.
Patients may present with other pre-existing co-morbid conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, ischemic heart disease, cancer and diabetes mellitus. These conditions increase the risk of developing respiratory infections and may lead to complications and severe disease in a Covid-19 positive patient. “These conditions are not considered as the underlying cause of death as they have not directly caused death due to Covid-19. Also, a patient may have many co-morbid conditions but only those that have contributed to death should be recorded,” the guidelines state.
A senior doctor from RML hospital said: “Covid-19 is the primary cause in most of the deaths reported. The patient might have comorbid conditions but it got worse as the patient was diagnosed with coronavirus.” A Delhi government spokesperson said the death audit committee is following all guidelines, and the decision on the number of casualties is decided by the committee after carefully examining the reports.
Meanwhile, in 24 hours, 473 people have been discharged/migrated/recovered. A total of 5,453 more tests have been done, taking the cumulative number of tests to 1,25,189 in the city.
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