Mystery shrouds Covid deaths numbers

Mystery shrouds Covid deaths numbers

  • In AP, out of 14,527 deaths, about 38,000 claims are accepted and compensation is paid
  • In Chittoor district, while the death toll is 2,000, around 3,500 claims are accepted
  • Now, 5% of claims are to be scrutinised in the state along with three other states as there is a huge discrepancy in official figures and compensation paid

Tirupati: Even after the impact of Covid pandemic has almost subsided, the controversy still surrounds over the actual number of Covid deaths during the last two years. There was always a mismatch between the daily number of deaths shown in the Covid bulletins and the actual deaths as shown by various hospitals and other sources.

After the Supreme Court directed the government to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 to the kin of deceased due to the coronavirus across the country, it was found that over six lakh people across the country were given the compensation against around eight lakh claim applications.

As it was much higher than the official Covid toll reported by different states, the apex court ordered the Centre to carry out a random scrutiny of five per cent of the claim applications made in four states, including AP, Gujarat, Kerala and Maharashtra. For instance, it was learnt that in AP the official Covid toll was 14,527 though it received 42,924 claims out of which the government accepted 37,571 claims.

Similarly, Chittoor district which tops the list of Covid toll in the state has 2,000 deaths as per government bulletins. But it received more than 4,600 claims for the compensation while the officials have accepted around 3,500 applications and paid the compensation rejecting the remaining claims. The scrutiny of five per cent claim applications has to be carried out in the district as well after the state government issues necessary guidelines.

Along with the number of Covid tests and positive cases, the death toll has always been a mystery and there has been a criticism that so many deaths have gone unnoticed in the bulletins. To quote one example, the official bulletin released by Ruia hospital on May 10, 2021, reported 47 deaths while the state bulletin on that day showed only 18. On the next day, out of 24 deaths in Ruia hospital alone, the state bulletin showed eight deaths only. It was the case on almost every occasion.

The chairman of Covid deaths ascertaining committee (CDAC) in Chittoor district and the joint collector (development) C Sridhar told The Hans India that there may be two prime reasons for the discrepancy. Several people from the district might have died in the neighbouring states while some others died at homes even before being brought to the hospitals. After getting the state government's directions, further steps will be taken in this regard, he added.

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