BENGALURU: Close to 512 deaths have taken place between April and May 16 either due to lack of oxygen, shortage or denial in India during its second wave of Covid-19, a community of open data professionals have estimated.
The open data tracker made by Data Meet was created with an aim to "archive lost lives due to the lack of oxygen and counter the ongoing denial and erasure of these deaths in official and government narratives."
The publicly available tracker estimated that the highest number of oxygen related deaths (83 deaths) took place across five medical colleges in Goa. Karnataka reposted 54 such deaths till May 16, including 36 persons at Chamarajanagar Institute of Medical Sciences, 4 patients at KBN Hospital at Kalaburagi, 2 patients at Arka Hospital in Bengaluru, 5 at Shri Bhanji D Khimji Lifeline Hospital in Hubballi, 4 at Kalaburagi government hospital and 3 at Belagavi government hospital.
"We started this project in May and have covered deaths that have taken place since April 2021, releasing updated data every Sunday night. We noticed the number of deaths due to shortage of oxygen and we wanted to record it, so it will not get lost a few years from now. They deserve to be noticed," said Bengaluru-based Thejesh GN, founder of Data Meet, which also made a similar tracker of deaths during the 2020 nationwide lockdown, caused by hunger during migration, suicide, lathicharge and other similar factors.
The tracker has reported 59 deaths in Maharashtra, 30 in Madhya Pradesh, 59 in Delhi, 46 in Uttar Pradesh, 52 in Andhra Pradesh, 22 in Haryana, 4 in Jammu and Kashmir, 6 in Punjab, 37 in Tamil Nadu, 16 in Gujarat, 5 in Uttarakhand, 9 in Rajasthan, 8 in Bihar, 15 in Telangana, 1 in Chhattisgarh, 1 in West Bengal and 5 in Jharkhand.
The oxygen related deaths recorded are based on reports from newspapers and news media in English and regional languages, social media, and networks of volunteers working on the ground, as per the website projects.datameet.org/covid19/.
The team comprises independent group of volunteers, researchers, lawyers, journalists, students, and activists. They have been tracking the sources, verifying details, checking for duplication, and extracting necessary information from these reports, with the hope that this documentation will provide lessons, now and in the future.
"In cases where government agencies or hospital authorities have denied that deaths were because of oxygen denial, we have relied on multiple media reports to assess facts," their website read.