How many Covid deaths does Delhi have? PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 June 2020 00:00
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Do 16 people die of Covid complications every day in the capital, or is it 47? The controversy over how many deaths actually get reported in the capital takes a new turn when you study the data; in the past, media reports had suggested that hospitals were declaring more deaths than the government. The discrepancy can be seen by comparing the daily deaths reported in the government’s medical bulletin as well as the cumulative deaths. Ideally, adding the daily deaths to the previous day’s cumulative death should give the new cumulative total. 
The daily bulletin reports 473 cumulative deaths on May 31, and this rises to 708 on June 5; over five days an average of 47 deaths per day. 
The bulletin shows 12 deaths as having taken place on June 1, 11 on June 2, 9 on June 3, 22 on June 4 and 25 on June 5, taking the total to 79. The average daily death works out to around 16. 
The big difference, it appears, arises from the way deaths on previous days are classified by the capital’s Death Advisory Committee. On June 3, the DAC actually classified a death going back to April 15 as a Covid-19 one while on June 5 it said 9 of the 58 deaths that were classified as Covid ones occurred on June 1. 
Such controversies over the number of dead come on top of the ones on how many tests the capital is carrying out; the state’s daily medical bulletin has one number while another set of numbers is given to the Delhi high court. Based on the data in the medical bulletin, 21% of those tested every day turned out to be Covid-positive while the number was 38% going by the high court numbers. 
If the Delhi government doesn’t fix this, the data will get progressively less reliable, making any kind of planning redundant. How important it is to get the data right can be seen from the fact that, while Delhi has 28,936 cases right now, a state government panel suggests this could rise to as much as 2.9 lakh by mid-July; reports of what the panel has said talk of the number of beds Delhi requires, but it is easy to calculate the projected infection levels based on this.

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