Over 9% patients died outside hospital in Karnataka during 2nd Covid wave: Data
As the second wave shows a declining trend in the state, Hindustan Times compiled a data on Covid-19 deaths from state health department bulletins and compared the deaths in the first and second wave of the pandemic.
In the second wave of Covid-19, close to 9 out 100 (i.e.9.3%) patients died outside a hospital, shows the analysis of health bulletins released by the Karnataka state health department on so far. In comparison, during the Covid first wave, only 4 out of 100 (i.e. 3.8%) patients died outside a hospital, according to the data.
As the second wave shows a declining trend in the state, Hindustan Times compiled a data on Covid-19 deaths from state health department bulletins and compared the deaths in the first and second wave of the pandemic. While the data of number of deaths during the first wave is between August 1 and September 30, 2020, a time when the state reported the highest number of cases, data on deaths during the second wave is between April 1 to May27.
In the first wave of the virus, 6,551 people lost their lives to Covid-19 in the two months, while in the second wave 14,167 deaths were reported. While the number of deaths in the second wave is more than double compared to the first, experts say that the case fatality rate (number of deaths reported per 100 cases) is low. “If we look at the absolute number of deaths, they are definitely high in the second wave. But if you look at the number cases, the second wave had more,” said the senior bureaucrat, who didn’t want to be named.
“The case fatality rate is the best way to understand this. Even though we reported more deaths, the case fatality rate in April 2021 was around 0.77% and in April 2020 the CFR was 4.09%. The average number of deaths has reduced in the second wave,” he added.
Similarly, in the cases of hospitalisation, out of the 14,167 deaths, 1,322 were reported from outside a hospital, which is 9.3% of all deaths reported in the second wave. In comparison, in the first wave, out of the 6,551 deaths, only 251 (3.8%) died outside a hospital, as per analysis of data from the government bulletins.
Giridhar Babu, head of epidemiology department at the Public Health Foundation of India and member of state Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on Covid-19 said that change between the first and second wave shows that the medical facilities in the state were overwhelmed by surge in cases. “Several people were unable to find a bed in the second wave. The change in policy towards home isolation also meant that people started looking for hospitals late and they were unable to find them because of hospitals running out of space,” said Babu.
Similarly, the second wave showed an increase in the number of deaths in the age group of 30-45. A comparison of the numbers shows that in the first wave around 11 out of 100 deaths belonged to the 30–45-year age group, in the second wave, 16 out of the 100 deaths were reported in this category.
However, for the age category of under 30 years, there was no big change in the numbers. In the first wave, 2.2% of deaths belonged to those under 30, while in the second wave it marginally increased to 2.9%.
The data also highlighted how many victims exhibited comorbidities. While 71.3% of Covid-19 cases in Karnataka showed some comorbidity such as diabetes or breathing problems, in the second wave, these number dropped to 61.7%. Does it mean more people without any comorbidities died? Babu says this may not be the case. “In India, people get commodities at least 10 years before other countries. This is one of the reasons why we have high number of deaths in the 30–45-year age category. The number of people without any reported comorbidities show that many people are unaware of the medical problems they have,” he said.
He said that there are several lessons to be learnt from the first and second waves even as the state prepares to tackle the third wave which expected around November this year. “If we look at the Mumbai numbers, the number of deaths in 60 years + age category has come down because they have been vaccinated. So, we need to focus on vaccination before the third wave and an increase in the number of people dying outside the hospital shows that more investment is needed in creating beds,” he pointed out.