Delhi govt continues to under-report COVID-19 death, LN Hospital has 230 deaths, AIIMS 65     

If all the COVID-19 deaths at more than 15 hospitals in the national capital were to be reported by the Delhi government, it is likely to cross 900

Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: social media)
Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: social media)

Ashlin Mathew

Over the last one week, the Delhi government has increased the death count due to COVID-19 to 556. Even though that is a 90% jump, the number of deaths continues to be underreported. An analysis of the deaths in three of the government hospitals shows that they alone account for more than 430 deaths. If all the COVID-19 deaths at more than 16 hospitals in the national capital were to be reported by the Delhi government, it is likely to cross 900.

Scrutiny of data from Lok Nayak Hospital, a dedicated COVID-19 facility in the national capital, shows that there have been 230 COVID-19 deaths at the hospital. From March 17 till April 30, there have been 99 deaths at the hospital. There has been a total of 427 deaths since March 17 at LN Hospital. The remaining deaths are of patients suspected to have COVID-19 and of those who tested negative for the virus but still died.

At Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, there have been 77 deaths in the COVID-19 wards in May, of these 38 were the confirmed COVID-19 positive patients. “The remaining were those who were suspected of COVID-19 and those who were brought dead to the hospital with Coronavirus symptoms,” said a health worker at the hospital. National Herald has not been able to look at COVID-19 deaths in April. This article will be updated with the April deaths.

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences has had 65 COVID-19 deaths. This includes deaths at both New Delhi and Jhajjar. Currently, there are 580 COVID-19 patients at AIIMS-Jhajjar and 154 at Delhi.

Earlier, this week it was reported that Safdarjung Hospital, the largest Central Government hospital in the country by bed strength, had 103 deaths, but the Delhi government had said that the hospital had reported only four deaths until May 29. Three weeks ago, National Herald had reported that at least 20 patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 had died in April.

The under-reporting of deaths at hospitals was augmented by data from cremation and burial grounds in Delhi. There were more than 650 COVID-19 burials until May 25, according to the Municipal Corporations in Delhi.

This even has the Delhi government has issued show-cause notices to four leading facilities in the national capital, including the AIIMS and LNJP Hospital, for the delay in reporting death cases. “Show cause notices have been issued to AIIMS, LN Hospital, RML Hospital, and Safdarjung Hospital to explain the reasons for the delay in reporting death cases and for violation of the directions issued by the Delhi Health Department, as well as by the DDMA under the Disaster Management Act,” said a stated issued by the health department.

Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, and Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital have also received a memo to explain the delay in reporting deaths. However, several hospital administrative staff said that they had submitted all the documents to the Death Audit Committee within the prescribed time.

Even with these under-reported figures, the mortality rate in Delhi has climbed. It stands at 2.5% with 556 reported deaths. Three weeks ago, the mortality rate in Delhi stood at 1.2% with 65 deaths, but if we were to include the unreported numbers, it is likely to cross 3%.

The death count in the country has doubled in two weeks and the number of infections could hit the 2,50,000-mark in less than a week. Maharashtra has the highest COVID-19 deaths at 2,362, followed by Gujarat at 1,063, then Delhi at 556, and Madhya Pradesh at 358 COVID-19 deaths. Maharashtra has 37,543 patients under treatment, followed by Delhi with 12,573 and Tamil Nadu with 10,141 active cases.

Delhi reported 1,298 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday taking the total number of cases in the capital to 22,132. This is the biggest jump in the number of cases so far. Of the total cases, 9,243 persons have recovered.

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