Why is the govt underreporting COVID deaths all over India?

Mafazah Sharafuddin
May 5, 2021

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There have been several claims of undercounting the number of COVID deaths on the part of the government. This is a result of several factors, but most significantly, the number of corpses piling up in crematoriums and burial grounds. According to those who run crematoriums, the number of deaths due to COVID sent for cremation is much higher than what is disclosed by the government.
 
This issue isn’t limited to any one state, as there have been reports of the same in several states, including Karnataka, UP and the capital, Delhi. The crisis of having too many bodies and insufficient means to dispose of them is making people notice. NGOs are helping with cremations outside crematoriums, in parks etc. The crematoriums themselves are working towards building more cremation platforms. 

People running burial grounds and crematoriums are not turning people away. This has led to long queues for the same. In an interview with NDTV, a man who had lost his father to COVID said, “Earlier we were struggling to get oxygen, now we are struggling for cremation. The Government is useless.”

The owners of certain crematoriums state that those who die at home are not reported as COVID deaths in an official capacity, despite having succumbed to COVID. Several people are at home due to a lack of hospital beds and oxygen. They are being turned away from the hospitals. 

There have been mixed reactions to these claims. Most state governments are paying it no heed, and continuing to report deaths as they did prior to it. Adithyanath, however, has reacted with having the open sides of Rajghat covered up with cloth and plastic banners. This blocks the view to the cremation grounds and any bodies that might be piling up there. The banners claim that photography and videography of the cremations within the grounds would be considered criminal activity. It cites religious sanctity as its reason. 

The situation is dire. Overwhelming evidence states that the number of deaths of people diagnosed with COVID may be much higher than that being reported. This does not even begin to count the fact that there are plenty of people unable to get tested. This paints a truly grim picture of the COVID situation in India. 

The Madras HC on Monday severely reprimanded the Election Commission for allowing campaign rallies to take place during the pandemic. They went as far to say “Your institution is singularly responsible for the second wave of Covid-19. Election Commission officers should be booked on murder charges probably.”

The Co-Win portal and the announcement of vaccines for those aged 18-44 followed by the lack of production is another factor causing people to raise their voice. There are far too many accusations of improper administration for it to be brushed off without address. 

A report in the Financial Times stated that the, “numbers of Covid victims who have been cremated are 10x larger than official Covid death counts in same areas.” The state India is in is capturing global attention. 

The situation right now calls for many questions. What are the true numbers? How many decisions, like the EC’s decision to give parties the go ahead, were promoted by political reasons? How many were financially motivated? Where does public welfare stand among the list of reasons?

The glaring question, of course, is why?

Why is the government underreporting the COVID deaths all over the country?

The number of deaths, the state of the hospitals, the lack of vaccines, and the political rallies etc. all point towards one thing. Inefficient administration. The possibility that the underreporting is a ploy by the government to seem like they have a better handle on the situation is becoming more and more likely. 

It isn’t a new concept for governments to cover up things leading up to the election. There are thousands of cartoons that just speak about deceit before the election. 

It is an insidious idea, but that does not make it less likely. This is a matter of national and global importance. Underreporting the deaths due to COVID could skew research studying the fatality of this wave of the virus. It is also vital that the citizen see the gravity of the situation. The government must address the disparity in the numbers and provide clarity to the citizens.

Comments

MOHAMED S SULTAN
 - 
Friday, 7 May 2021

This is man made problem.
We(You) paid very dearly as the consequences of choosing our governments.
At least learn from this UNFORGETTABLE LESSON, what type of party and leaders you have to select for ruling.

costly lesson, never ever forget and pass it to all generations until end of the planet.

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News Network
June 4,2021

New Delhi, June 4: Fuel prices were hiked after a two-day pause, with petrol in Mumbai now nearing the Rs 101-mark.

Petrol prices were hiked by 27 paise, while the price of diesel has been increased by 28 paise.

In the country's financial capital, petrol now costs Rs 100.98 per litre, while diesel is currently at Rs 92.99 per litre. In the national capital, a litre of petrol is worth Rs 94.76 and diesel costs Rs 85.66 per litre.

In Chennai, a litre of petrol now costs Rs 96.92 per litre, while a litre of diesel is priced at Rs 90.38. A litre of petrol in Kolkata costs Rs 94.76 and diesel sets you back by Rs 88.51.

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News Network
June 15,2021

Bengaluru, June 15: A dangerous new Covid-19 variant that is potentially resistant to certain drugs has been found in Karnataka and other states with experts stressing the need for close monitoring of the situation.

Research suggests that the new variant, which is officially designated B.1.617.2.1 (or alternatively as AY.1) was first spotted in India on April 5.

Since then and up to May 15, seven additional sequences were identified in five other states, besides one from Karnataka.

According to experts, the increased mobility of people in March and April prior to the lockdown imposed on April 27, could have triggered the mutation, especially as it is a derivative of the B.1.617.2 “Delta” variant which experts already blame for driving the second wave.

Speaking as an independent authority, associate professor Amit Singh, head, Centre for Infectious Disease Research, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), said the larger the scale of the infections, the more opportunity for a virus to add a “gain of function” mutation.
 
“This is a mutation which gives a typical virus increased transmissibility, virulence, immunogenicity,” he said.

Well known virologist Dr V Ravi, who is also the chairman of the state’s Genomic Surveillance Committee, said that there was precedent to show that previous variants of the novel coronaviruses obtained same mutations independently across various geographic regions. 

Dr Vishal Rao, also a member of the Committee, said that the state does not know how many of the sequences are coming from airline passengers of the ongoing “air bubble” international flights and how many are coming from hospitals.

“There is no data. We also need to get clinical correlation by monitoring ICUs and hospitals to find out what the genomic pattern and behavior is. We are not keeping our ears to the ground,” he said.

What is known is that the sequences have been found in states which reported some of the highest incidences of Covid-19 cases in the second wave: Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Odisha also found one sequence.

The largest number of sequences found so far have been in Tamil Nadu (three sequences found out of 562 genome samples). In Karnataka, the sole sequence was found among 1,115 samples.

At the same time, the number of Delta+ sequences being found in India are increasing. Up to June 11, six sequences had been made public. This rose to seven on June 13 and finally to eight on Monday.

Some 158 sequences of the Delta+ have been found across 11 countries to date: Nepal, Portugal, Poland, Switzerland, Japan, Russia, Turkey, the UK, the US and Canada. The first global cases were found on March 29.

What makes Delta+ a concern is that it has picked up a key new mutation in the S protein according to scientists at Delhi’s CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology. This allows it to evade an immune response. The new variant is also potentially resistant to monoclonal antibody cocktail, which has been hailed as a cure.

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News Network
June 13,2021

Lucknow, June 13: A woman was allegedly gangraped while she was undergoing treatment at a government hospital in the state capital of Lucknow.

The daughter of the 40-year-old victim, a resident of Uttar Pradesh's Amethi district, told Union Minister Smriti Irani, who represents the constituency in Lok Sabha, that her mother had told her that she had been 'gang-raped and 'assaulted' by the staff at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in Lucknow.

While the officials ordered a probe into the matter after Irani's intervention, the victim died late on Saturday night while being shifted to another hospital in Lucknow.

The daughter of the victim said that her mother had been admitted to Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences on June 7 after being referred from the district hospital in Amethi.

''I was not allowed to meet my mother by the staff... after much persuasion, I met her a few days later and found her in a critical condition... she told me then that she had been gangraped and beaten by the staff,'' she said.

The victim was discharged on Friday without assigning any reason even though she was still unconscious, she further alleged.

Officials informed that a committee has been formed to investigate the allegations.

The Lohia hospital management, however, refuted the allegations and said that no such complaint was lodged with it by the daughter of the victim.

The incident comes close on the heels of another alleged gang rape with a patient inside the operation theatre of a hospital in Prayagraj. 

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