Updated: June 16, 2021 2:40:03 pm
THE CAPITAL district of Thiruvananthapuram accounts for 21 per cent of total Covid-19 deaths in Kerala, which officials in the state health department attribute primarily to more transparent reporting of deaths and high prevalence of co-morbidity factors among the district’s aged population.
As on June 14, of the total 11,340 Covid deaths in Kerala, 2,401 deaths were reported from Thiruvananthapuram. The district accounts for 10 per cent of the state’s more than 27.35 lakh positive cases. In contrast, Thrissur, which accounts for 9 per cent of the state’s positive cases, has only 10 per cent of the total Covid deaths.
Sources in the health department said the high number of deaths reported in Thiruvananthapuram was because of better transparency and thorough RT-PCR screening of bodies of patients who died. “Even if the antigen test is negative, we have to do the RT- PCR test, leading to much delay in releasing the bodies. Besides, if a patient dies after he or she tests negative, such deaths are considered as Covid deaths in the district,” said a source. “We have been following this norm right from the beginning as this is the capital district. Other districts do not include post-Covid deaths happening due to co-morbidities and other complications,’’ sources said.
Dr Santhosh Kumar, who headed the state medical board for Covid-19 until a month ago, agreed that reporting of Covid-19 has been more transparent in Thiruvananthapuram. “There has been fewer elimination of Covid deaths in the district compared to other districts.”
He said several deaths in other districts have been dropped from the state’s final confirmed list. “We should have included the deaths which occurred after a Covid-19 patient turned negative. What matters is cause of death. When co-morbidities get worse with Covid infection, Covid should be considered as cause of death,’’ he said.
Sources said another factor is the high prevalence of co-morbidity among the aged population in Thiruvan-anthapuram, although the district does not have the highest share of aged population in the state.
Among the state’s 14 districts, central Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district has 17 per cent population above the age of 60. Whereas, the percentage of 60-plus population in Thiruvananthapuram is 13.1 per cent — slightly above the state’s overall figure of 12.7 per cent. Kottayam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Thrissur also have a higher share of 60-plus population than Thiruvananthapuram.
“Lifestyle diseases are very high among the aged population in Thiruvananthapuram, particularly among the growing retired employees in the urban belts of the district,” a source said. “We have a lot of Covid patients who died within a few days after they were admitted to hospital. Many aged patients are reporting late at hospitals.”