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Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Bengal: Density, high number of elderly people push up Covid fatality rate, say officials

At 1.86 per cent, West Bengal has the second highest death rate (proportion of fatality to Covid-19 cases) in the country after Maharashtra’s 2.6 per cent while the national average hovers around 1.5 per cent.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Updated: November 1, 2020 12:38:46 pm
Bengal: Govt allows cultural events, fairs in open spacesThe recovery rate has increased to 92.54 per cent. (Representational)

A large number of elderly citizens with co-morbidities, a high population density and negligence towards hospitalisation were among the reasons for rising Covid-related death and positivity rates in West Bengal, said health officials on Saturday.

At 1.86 per cent, West Bengal has the second highest death rate (proportion of fatality to Covid-19 cases) in the country after Maharashtra’s 2.6 per cent while the national average hovers around 1.5 per cent. In the initial phase of the pandemic, West Bengal’s Covid death rate was a whopping 12.5 per cent.

In the last one month, the positivity rate has jumped from 7.23 per cent to 9.33 per cent in West Bengal.

Director of Health Service Ajay Chakraborty said, “In West Bengal, the percentage of elderly citizens is very high, and almost all of them have co-morbidity and other complications which increase the chances of deaths. In our state, a high density population is also a major cause of spread in the infection.” An internal report of the state Health Department said Kolkata, North 24 Parganas, Howrah, South 24 Parganas, Nadia, West and East Midnapore, and East and West Burdwan, which are the worst-hit districts, have high population density.

Health Department sources said another reason for a high death rate was people’s unwillingness to seek institutional treatment and observe quarantine guidelines.

The internal report said the state’s positivity rate stood at 7.23 per cent and 7.65 per cent on September 27 and October 4. This jumped to 8.27 per cent and 8.81 per cent in the weeks ending on October 11 and 18 before settling at 9.33 per cent in the next week. Kolkata, West Midnapore, Jalpaiguri, East Misnapore, Nadia, Howrah, Darjeeling, Maldah, South 24 Parganas, East Bardwan, Birbhum and Murshidabad are areas of concern for health officials.

The number of active cases also increased in 17 out of the total 23 districts.

According to a recent report of the Union Health Ministry, 65 per cent of the total Covid deaths in India were recorded in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

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