State logs over 1,000 deaths in last 26 days
Jharkhand has witnessed an unprecedented surge in deaths due to Covid-19 during the ongoing second wave of the pandemic with over 1,000 fatalities in less than a month as opposed to the first wave last year, when a similar number of deaths was reported over a period of nine months between the months of April and December.
The state’s mortality rate, for the first time since the pandemic’s outbreak last year, jumped over the 1% mark on Monday.
With a record 124 casualties reported on Monday, the state’s Covid-19 toll climbed to 2,115, including 1,002 fatalities registered between April 1 and 26 this year. The state was reporting over 100 deaths daily for the last three days.
The spike in the death toll, however, pushed the state’s mortality rate to its highest ever at 1.02% on April 26 from 0.89% on March 31.
Health experts opine that the high number of deaths can be averted by taking preventive measures and timely medical intervention. However, they say that there deaths will spike with the rise in cases.
“The number of deaths will largely depend on the number of cases in a given period of time, the infrastructure to match and accommodate the surge without diluting the quality of care,” said Dr RK Jha, former professor and head, department of medicine, Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Ranchi.
He added, “It is also possible that this new Covid-19 strain, Indian and UK variants, both are far more infectious and they create difficulties in detection through the conventional RT-PCR / RAT test. No wonder that many deaths have taken place because of late diagnosis or death outside hospital due to denial of admission to such cases.”
“Also there is a need to change the treatment strategies, that is the place and timing of steroid and monoclonal antibodies vis-à-vis newer variants. In last two to three weeks of the second wave, it took a toll without warning as people, in general, believed that the pandemic was over and they fully gave up the cumbersome Covid appropriate behaviour.”
Dr Dewesh Kumar, assistant professor of department of preventive and social medicine RIMS, said, “There is wide spread infection. So, with the rise in cases, deaths will also rise. This is a pan-India scenario. The high number of deaths could have been averted had there been adequate preparations. It is suggestive to start taking medicines with the first advent of symptom in order to ward off fatality. Fever, diarrhoea and other symptoms should be taken as a sign of infection. Those who are fit should also follow all dietary and other Covid-19 protocol to keep infection at bay.”
State capital Ranchi, which is the hardest hit by the pandemic, reported the maximum 382 out of the 1,002 deaths in last 26 days. Besides, many Covid-19 patients also died in Ranchi hospitals during treatment, but their deaths were counted in their respective districts’ tally.
The huge number of deaths, including those from other districts occurring in Ranchi, has resulted in chaos at cremation grounds, as an electric crematorium at Harmu developed snag and the administration was forced to identify another place to dispose of bodies manually in the traditional way.
According to the health department’s bulletin of April 27 morning, Jharkhand has so far reported 207,288 cases, including 155,669 recoveries, 49,504 active cases and 2,115 deaths.