Backlog of Covid-19 deaths surfaces in Bengaluru

Backlog of Covid-19 deaths surfaces in Bengaluru

Sources said the city’s actual CFR is around 0.70%

A health worker administers Covid-19 vaccine in Bengaluru on Sunday. Credit: DH Photo

Covid-19 deaths from the brutal second wave and beyond in Bengaluru that were not made public by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) are now slowly making it to official bulletins, creating problems for the civic body.

As per the official Covid-19 bulletin for September 24, Bengaluru Urban’s active caseload was 7,440. However, data released by the BBMP on the same day put the active caseload number at only 4,223. 

This left a balance of over 2,667 “active” cases which, a source in the municipal body said, were a mix of cases that have never been officially discharged and a large number of backlog deaths not yet made public.

“During and in the wake of the second wave, some deaths were not made public because the daily death toll disclosures within the city were already in triple digits. Consequently, some deaths were sent into a backlog that kept growing,” said the source.

According to the source, the backlog was created without the knowledge of some senior officers in the BBMP.

The situation has now created difficulties for the BBMP, which not only faces the task of making public scores of old deaths but also because the backlog has pushed the city’s Case Fatality Rate (CFR) to 1.81%.

Sources said the city’s actual CFR is around 0.70%.

Special Commissioner (Health) D Randeep, BBMP, said that the city is now working to ensure that the backlog is cleared. “We are being transparent in disclosing the deaths but for transparency to be sustained, there should not be a delay in the reporting of deaths by private hospitals,” he said.

As per a DH analysis of the state’s Covid-19 bulletin, which originates from the Department of Health and Family Welfare, this disclosure of backlog fatalities has accelerated since September 12.

Also read: Karnataka reports 775 new Covid-19 cases, 9 deaths

An audit by the BBMP War Room found that out of 124 Covid-19 deaths disclosed in the official Covid-19 bulletin up to last week, 76 were deaths that had actually happened in previous months. Some of the fatalities had happened 100 days ago.

Additionally, of the 50 deaths disclosed in the state Covid-19 bulletin over the last seven days, 39 were backlog deaths, one death had happened in June, 18 in July and nine in August.

Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association rejected the accusation that there is a delay in reporting deaths.

“There is no way for private hospitals to not report these fatalities to the BBMP on the day they happen,” said PHANA president Dr Prasanna H M. “This is because the bodies are also handed over to municipal officials for conveyance to the crematorium or cemetery.”

“There is a delay of not more than five to six hours before the BBMP is notified of these Covid-19 deaths,” he added. 

Check out latest videos from DH: