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Explained: Why India’s Covid-19 deaths are spiking even as cases go down

India Covid-19 numbers: Since the start of May, 66,866 people are reported to have died because of Covid-19, making it the deadliest month during the pandemic.

covid 19, coronavirus, covid 19 in india, coronavirus in india, covid 19 cases in india, covid 19 deaths in indiaVictims of Covid-19 are cremated at Baikunthdham cremation ground in Lucknow. (Express Photo: Vishal Srivastav)

India coronavirus numbers explained: On Monday, the daily count of coronavirus-related deaths in India touched a new high, with 4,329 deaths being reported from across the country. That overtook the count of 4,205 deaths recorded a week earlier on May 11.

It has been 12 days since the daily count of cases peaked. The cases have been on a decline after that. Since the death curve usually has a two-week lag, it is expected that the death count would also begin to come down in a few days’ time. In the period, however, it is possible that this count goes up further, because lots of states are reporting deaths that happened a few days to a couple of weeks earlier.

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Maharashtra, for example, more than 1,019 deaths on Monday. Of these, 289 had occurred between Saturday and Monday, while 227 were from the week before that. Another 484 deaths happened more than a week ago, but had so far not been included in the state tally. The state also reported 19 deaths among Covid19 patients that were assessed to have been caused by other ailments.

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Other states also reported deaths from previous days. There is an administrative lag in reporting of deaths, that sometimes extends to several weeks. The 476 deaths reported by Karnataka, for example, included a few that occurred in March. Several of these were from April.

Right now, five states — Maharashtra, Karnataka, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu – have been reporting at least 300 deaths every day on average. On Tuesday, a relatively smaller state like Uttarakhand reported 223 deaths, though more than 80 of those were from previous days. Twelve states have been reporting 100 deaths or more.

Since the start of this month, 66,866 people are reported to have died because of Covid-19, making it the deadliest month during the pandemic. April was the worst month for India in terms of number of infections. Close to 70 lakh infections had been detected during that month. But its impact on mortality is being felt only now. In April, close to 49,000 deaths had been recorded.


While Maharashtra’s death toll, close to 85,000, far exceeds that of any other state, it is the neighbouring state of Goa that has recorded the maximum deaths as a proportion of its population. Goa has so far seen 1,475 deaths per million population, while Delhi has 1,301. These are the only two states to have more than 1,000 deaths per million population.

First published on: 18-05-2021 at 02:22:46 pm
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