Rajasthan forms 3 teams to audit Covid-19 deaths amid under reporting cloud
Rajasthan health minister said from March 2020 to March 2021, a total of 2,818 deaths happened due to Covid- 19, which rose to 5,093 in just two months between April and May this year following the second wave of the pandemic.
The Rajasthan government has constituted teams to audit deaths caused by Covid-19 amid opposition allegations that the official toll discounted several unreported deaths caused by the disease in the rural areas.
Health minister, Dr Raghu Sharma said the statistics of deaths from Covid-19 in the state have already been verified by senior officials. It will now be certified within the prescribed time-limit by the three teams headed by senior doctors in compliance with chief minister Ashok Gehlot’s directive.
He said in 2019, a total of 396,799 deaths were registered in the state, which increased to 420,403 in 2020 -- an increase of 5.94%. Similarly, from January 2020 to May 25, 2020, the number of deaths registered was 166,392; which rose this year to 175,244 – an increase by 5.31%. He said the growth rate was the same as the previous year.
Sharma said due to Covid-19 from March 2020 to March 2021, a total of 2,818 deaths happened - In the same period, the total number of deaths was 439,996. The number of Covid-19 deaths between April and May this year stood at 5,093, which is 6.12 % of all 83,188 deaths recorded so far in the state.
He said that the audit teams will go to various districts and look at deaths caused by Covid-19 among the overall deaths. “The teams will also submit their suggestions about treatment of the infection in districts and ways to reduce the possibility of death. These teams have been directed to... submit their report in the next 15 days,” he said.
According to the health department, 8,018 people have succumbed to Covid-19 in Rajasthan till date. However, a survey by a local news daily, listed 14,482 deaths caused by the disease in the state’s 25 rural districts between April 1 and May 20 this year alone, while the government’s record puts the number of deaths in this period to 3,918. Rajasthan has 33 districts in all. A political row soon erupted with the opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleging that the state was underreporting Covid-19 deaths.
While ordering the audit of Covid and non-Covid deaths in the state, chief minister Ashok Gehlot stated that the government was worried about people’s lives and not figures.