BHUBANESWAR: Amid allegations of under-reporting of Covid-19 fatalities, Odisha has recorded 20,035 more deaths in 2020 as compared to 2019. The State has also recorded a whopping 50,354 deaths in May this year, though the final figures are yet to be compiled.
According to final death data of the last two years that has been accessed by The New Indian Express, the State registered 3,42,947 deaths in 2019 and 3,62,982 in 2020, the year the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
The rising trend also continued this year. As many as 1,76,166 deaths, including 34,243 in January, 32,006 in February, 29,983 in March, and 29,580 in April have been recorded at the State’s 430 registration units in the first five months this year, indicated the provisional data submitted by districts.
An analysis of the data revealed, Odisha has seen a sharp spike in overall deaths during the period from the last September to May as compared to the previous years.
While around 5,000 more deaths were reported in September, an average of 10,000 excess deaths per month were recorded in October, November, and December. However, the government had declared only 1,876 Covid deaths in 2020.
The mortality reported by the districts during the four months was around 10 times the official Covid toll for the same period. While over 1.3 lakh deaths were registered across the State in the last four months of 2020, only 1,356 Covid deaths were declared by the Health and Family Welfare department.
The number of deaths has surged significantly in five districts - Khurda, Ganjam, Balasore, Balangir, and Sundargarh and marginally in 10 districts - Angul, Bargarh, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Keonjhar, Nayagarh, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Rayagada and Sonepur.
The maximum difference of deaths has been reported in Ganjam. As many as 32,960 people had died in Ganjam in 2020 followed by 21,578 in Khurda, 16,645 in Balasore, 14,044 in Balangir and 15,331 in Sundargarh against 29,624, 18,991, 14,682, 12,830 and 13,521 in 2019 respectively.
In May this year, more than 1,000 deaths have been reported from 20 districts with Ganjam recording the maximum 4,641 followed by Cuttack (3,754), Balangir (3,716), Sundargarh (3,619) and Khurda (3,571).
Although Odisha had registered the highest 3.19 lakh Covid cases in May with the peak figure of 12,852 cases on May 23, only 737 deaths due to the infectious virus were announced by the government.
“The compilation of death data for 2020 was delayed as some of the districts, which are supposed to submit the final figures by March 31, filed the data a few days back,” said an official.
The death count rose considerably despite the reduction in fatalities due to other diseases like malaria, typhoid, diarrhoea and other communicable diseases, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases during the pandemic.
According to the Civil Registration System monitored by the office of the Registrar General of India that records all births and deaths, 3,28,799 deaths were registered in 2018 and 3,22,660 in 2017.