COVID-19 death figures from districts raise questions over Kerala’s official toll

Thiruvananthapuram: The COVID-19 death figures from districts indicate that there is a big difference between the state government's official fatality list and the actual death toll. The health department has allegedly confirmed only half of the deaths reported in some districts.

The Covid deaths reported in Thiruvananthapuram are relatively accurate, the figures from the local bodies indicate. A total of 2,501 deaths were reported in the district till Friday.

In Kollam, 2,306 people died due to Covid, as per the data from the local bodies. But the official toll is only 710.

Though unofficial figures state 2,250 people died of COVID-119 in Ernakulam, only 1,160 deaths have been confirmed. The figures from Idukki show 588 deaths, but only 125 in government records. Though 482 died in Pathanamthitta, only 355 in the records. The death toll has crossed 1000 in Kottayam, but only 508 in government figures. Though 1,046 deaths have been reported in Malappuram, only 883 in government figures.

In Kozhikode, the toll is at 2,096, but just 919 deaths were confirmed. Though 500 died in Kasaragod, only 191 in government records.

Health Minister Veena George had sought an explanation from the health department Principal Secretary over the difference in the Covid fatality figures between districts. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had also instructed to rectify the discrepancies in the fatality count.

Case fatality rate

Health experts say that if one checks the case fatality rate (CFR), it is clear that there are discrepancies in the official death toll. In Thiruvananthapuram, where deaths reported were relatively accurate, the CFR is 0.88%. But the CFR in Malappuram, one of the districts with the most number of Covid infected, is only 0.28%. This is lower than the state average of 0.42 per cent.

Around 26.76 lakh have recovered from Covid in the state. If going by the CFR in Thiruvananthapuram, there could have been 23,555 deaths due to Covid in Kerala. The unofficial death figures from districts that have more number of Covid infected such as Ernakulam, Kozhikode, and Kollam, also indicate this.

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