COVID deaths under-reported, say healthcare professionals

 thehindu.com  08/02/2020 17:25:17 

The official number of COVID-19 deaths shared by the government has baffled healthcare professionals who attend the patients at government hospitals. They vouch that the fatalities are much more than the daily data published in the media bulletin issued by the Health department.

Till August 1, a total of 540 COVID deaths were officially reported in the State. Every day, statistics recorded till 8 p.m. of a day are mentioned in daily media bulletin.

July spike

In a day, anywhere between 15 to 20 COVID-19 patients die at Gandhi Hospital. But that is a modest count. From July last week, around 25 to 30 deaths a day were reported at the hospital, including the ones who die while being shifted from private hospital. From 10 p.m. of July 29 to 2 p.m. of July 30, at least 24 COVID patients died at the hospital, sources said.

The Hindu accessed details of the 24 patients who died between 10 p.m. of July 29 to 2 p.m. of July 30. The oldest of them was a 70-year-old woman from Secunderabad who breathed her last at 8.15 a.m. of July 30, and the youngest is a 27-year-old woman from Hyderabad who died at around 1.45 a.m. of July 30. Seven among the suffered from pneumonia, and two suffered from hypertension too.

However, according to the media bulletin based on data from July 30, only 14 deaths were recorded across the State. This is the highest number of deaths recorded in a day. In fact, number of deaths in a day officially recorded across the State never crossed 14 till August 1.

We dont understand why deaths are under reported in media bulletin. We are talking only about Gandhi Hospital. There are more government hospitals where COVID patients and suspects are admitted. And arent COVID patients dying at private hospitals? Put together, the numbers will be much higher, sources said.

They opined that more than being accountable, presenting the true numbers helps the State government and people understand the reasons leading to high number of deaths and address them if there are any issues.

Not hiding data

However, senior officials from the Health department, who did not wish to be quoted, said that COVID deaths are not being under reported.

Case sheets of every patient who dies is checked, the officials said. Earlier, Health Minister Eatala Rajender reiterated that they are not hiding the number of deaths.

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