SRINAGAR: Let’s look at data from the summer capital of J&K. In all, 291 death certificates were issued in Srinagar in April-May 2020, of which seven were Covid fatalities. Assuming a standard rise of 4% in year-on-year deaths, next year’s fatality count during the same interval ought to have been 303.
However, the number of death certificates issued in April-May 2021 jumped to 1,340, of which the official Covid count was 299. How does one explain the 738 extra deaths (1,340 - 299 - 303 = 738)?
“This time, there is no lockdown although there are curbs. It may be that more people died this year due to natural causes, suicides etc. We are yet to analyse the data, so it will be difficult for us to be conclusive,” they said. In sum, there are more questions than answers.
An official of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation said more death certificates issued in April-May this year does not mean that all of them are residents of Srinagar. Many patients from other districts suffering from different ailments were admitted to Srinagar hospitals and died, he said. But hasn’t that been happening for ages? The spurt in non-Covid deaths do raise questions on data discrepancy. There are no clear answers yet.
Scratch the surface of the Covid fatality data in various districts and they throw up searching questions. Take Assam. Its Kamrup (Metropolitan) district includes the Guwahati Municipal Corporation. During the first corona wave in April 2020, altogether 183 death certificates were issued in that district, but there was not a single recorded case of Covid death.
In April 2021, as many as 912 death certificates were issued in the same district, during which time 78 Covid deaths were recorded. How does one explain the big year-on-year difference in the number of deaths in April, which is 729?
Health officials contacted by this newspaper said it could be because of various factors. “The significantly high fatality count this April could perhaps be due to comorbidities in patients. There was hardly any road accident death last year due to strict lockdown.