COVID-19 deaths likely to be underreported in Andhra Pradesh

The official, who is privy to field-level communication, said there are more deaths due to 'comorbidities', probably due to lack of timely medical treatment.

Published: 16th June 2021 09:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th June 2021 09:36 AM   |  A+A-

COVID deaths, coronavirus death, cremation, funeral

For representational purposes

Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: Compared to 29,403 deaths registered in the State in May 2020, the total number of deaths registered in May 2021 was 86,757, which is an increase of 195.06 per cent. However, the number of COVID-19 deaths officially reported is only 2,898 out of the total 86,757. The huge number raises a question whether COVID toll is underreported? 

When the same was brought to the notice of health officials during the daily COVID briefings, they maintained that what they were reporting were facts and did not have any necessity to hide the facts.

If the increased number of deaths registered in May, for that matter in every month this year, is not related to Covid, then what other reasons could be attributed to it?

Logically, after the COVID-induced lockdown and several other restrictions on the movement of people came into force in the following months and now, partial curfew being enforced for more than a month, the number of deaths attributed to road accidents and crimes has comparatively come down. 

A senior health official on condition of anonymity told The New Indian Express that though the increase in the number of deaths could not be directly attributed to COVID, it could be to indirect causes. The official, who is privy to field-level communication, said there are more deaths due to "comorbidities" (other diseases or ailments),  probably due to lack of timely medical treatment.

It is common knowledge that whenever people visit a hospital, be it private or government, for non-COVID treatment, the first thing they are asked for is COVID test report. It reportedly happened even in serious cases.

By the time the reports were submitted, there were instances of patients succumbing to serious health ailments they were suffering from. It could be one of the reasons for the increase in the number of deaths registered, he speculated. 

It is also suspected that not all COVID deaths were reported as some were attributed to comorbidities the patients were suffering from like heart ailments and kidney failure, even if COVID was the possible trigger.

Going by the statistics of the health department, there is a 126.23 per cent increase in deaths in May compared to April this year.

The number of COVID deaths increased from 43 in January to 2,898 in May under the impact of the second wave.Compared to 31 Covid deaths in May, 2020, 2,898 Covid deaths were reported in May this year, which is a whopping 9,248.38 per cent.

In May last year, the total number of deaths in the State due to Covid is 31 only, while the overall deaths registered for the month were 29,403.If the increase in the number of overall deaths registered in 2021 is taken into consideration, Guntur district registered more deaths in April and May. 

A total of 5,112 and 10,917 deaths were registered in the two months. Krishna came second with 4,056 deaths registered in April and 10,430 in May. In April and May last year, Guntur recorded 2,521 and 3,596 deaths, while Krishna reported 2,142 and 3,055 respectively.

In West Godavari, 353 deaths in April and 615 in May were reported last year, while the numbers for the two months were 2,867 and 7,047 this year, which are quite high. The huge difference in numbers has led to speculation over the authenticity of COVID toll in the State.


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