Pune | Updated: June 19, 2020 9:19:19 pm
India Coronavirus (Covid-19) Cases: Mumbai is the latest one to admit discrepancies in the number of deaths being reported due to novel Coronavirus. On Monday, it emerged that at least 450 deaths had not been included in the list of dead in Mumbai. At 2,250, the city already has the country’s highest death toll in the country.
Before Mumbai, West Bengal and Delhi have also been forced to revise their death numbers. After big discrepancies were pointed out in the death numbers reported in official bulletins and those being reported by the hospitals, the Delhi government, in the second week of May, had done a course correction. The number of deaths in the national capital has risen sharply after that, from less than 100 on May 12 to 1400 now. In the case of West Bengal, 72 deaths had to be included in the list after a central team visited the state in middle of April and pointed out the discrepancy.
Unlike Delhi and West Bengal, however, the error in Mumbai’s data was a result of an internal assessment that, last week, revealed that a follow-up on 450 patients had been missing. It was then that it emerged that all of them had died, but were not included in the list of dead. A few of them have since been added to the list, but at least 370 deaths are still to be accounted for.
Top ten states with maximum caseload
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Counting the dead has been a tricky exercise, even when there is no intention to hide the data. The biggest dilemma has been to ascertain the cause of death in patients with serious co-morbidities. Did the patient die of complications arising out of the infection, or was the infection just incidental and the patient actually died of those pre-existing illnesses? Some countries have resolved this by attributing the death of every Coronavirus positive patient to the virus. That is happening in some states in India as well. But in many states, particularly those with large number of deaths, the state governments have set up what they call Death Audit Committees to ascertain the cause of death. But ascertaining which of the several illnesses could be held responsible for the death of the patient is not a straightforward exercise, and that is why, in many cases, the judgment of the audit committees is also contested.
On the other hand, counting every death of a Coronavirus positive patient as a Covid-19 death, which is a simpler solution, may lead to the impression that many more people are dying due to the disease and could trigger panic in the population. As of now, a few states, like Tamil Nadu and Odisha, have been separately reporting deaths due to co-morbiities. But in most other states, it is not clear whether all the deaths are being reported or just those that have been assessed to have been caused by Covid19 disease only.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu, which too has seen a rapid rise in its death numbers in recent days, became the first state to bring back complete lockdown in some areas, including Chennai. The state has been in the midst of a big surge in its Coronavirus infections for the last two weeks, during which time the number of positive cases has doubled, from about 23,000 to more than 46,000 now, which is second only to Maharashtra. The state has been discovering almost 2,000 cases every day. The death toll has also increased from 184 to 479 during this period. On Monday, the state reported 44 deaths, the highest on any single day till now.
The complete lockdown will be applicable in Chennai, the worst affected city, and neighbouring districts of Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram and Thiruvallur, from June 19 till June 30. These four districts had been severely affected by the Koyembedu market cluster, which has been the source of infection in more than 3,000 people.
On Monday, more than 11,200 new cases were detected from across the country, taking the total number of infections to over 3.43 lakh. The number of dead has gone beyond 9,500.
The unusual spike in the number of cases in Ladakh, which had reported more than 100 cases on three consecutive days, finally subsided on Monday. The Himalayan region reported just six new cases. A total of 555 people have so far been found to have been infected in the region.
Maharashtra and Delhi also reported significantly lesser number of new cases than they had been doing for the last few days. Maharashtra discovered about 2,800 new cases while Delhi had only about 1,650. For the last few days, Delhi had been reporting over 2,000 cases.
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