Politics over Covid deaths: Congress accuses government of suppressing data
Death rate declining: Govt; No way: Congress
Bengaluru: The Covid-19 mortality rate in Karnataka was decreasing and the aim was to bring it below one per cent, the state government informed the Assembly on Tuesday, even as the opposition Congress accused it of suppressing figures.
As Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah noted during the debate on the Covid-19 situation that 272 people for every one lakh infected were dying in Karnataka, at seventh place in the country in the mortality rate, Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar intervened to say the death rate was declining.
He said the mortality rate in Bengaluru was 1.36 per cent, while it was about 1.54 per cent in the rest of Karnataka. Congress' Eshwar Khandre intervened and said the deaths were more in number and the government was showing less by suppressing data.
Rejecting Khandre's statement, Sudhakar said the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had complemented Karnataka for providing correct data.
"Being from Karnataka, why are you (Khandre) saying such things? Whichever government it may be, being a former Minister and MLA, levelling allegations that the government is providing wrong information -- it is not right," he said. Even as Sudhakar made it clear that nobody was giving wrong numbers and that government was giving proper data on testing, deaths and treatment, Khandre said proof would be given of incorrect information and it should be investigated.
Khandre also claimed that experts had stated that ICMR's reports were not correct as it does not have accountability. Intervening, Congress MLA and Former Health Minister U T Khader said representation of death rate in terms of percentage was misleading.
"The Minister has to understand...How does the death rate come down? If the cases are more than one lakh, then even if the number of deaths is 100, the percentage will be less. Earlier when the cases were 10,000 and the deaths happened, it showed a high percentage...
The number of deaths are not declining. Only in terms of percentage it is less. When there are lakhs of cases, the deaths in terms of percentage is less. So please don't try to justify with such figures," he added.
To this, Sudhakar said the member also has to note that a large number of patients were recovering too.
"Out of 5.26 lakh Covid cases, 4.20 lakh have recovered. How did they recover? Please speak about it too. Don't only speak about the death rate. If there were no recoveries, how will the death rate come down? Recovery is directly proportional to fatality," he said. Further pointing out that the global average mortality rate was 3.6 per cent and in some countries, as high as 10 per cent, he said the government was not giving wrong information.
"Our government's target is to bring the death rate below one per cent," he said. Siddaramaiah, pointing to the number of deaths, said one cannot blame the victim's fate for the deaths. "I don't believe that the deaths were because of an individual's fate written by God.