15.3% rise in death rate in 28 days in Dakshina Kannada

15.3% rise in death rate in 28 days in Dakshina Kannada stumps experts

The high mortality rate is a cause for concern and needs to be investigated, say experts

Police on high alert at Talpady check post near Mangaluru on Tuesday. Credit: DH Photo

An alarming spike in the mortality rate in Dakshina Kannada district has left experts worried. The mortality rate rose by 15.3% (189 deaths) between July 3 and July 31, higher than the state average.

In contrast, Bengaluru's mortality rate shot up by 1% (207 deaths). While Bengaluru added 12,030 cases, Dakshina Kannada added 6,717 cases during the same period.

The high mortality rate is a cause for concern and needs to be investigated, say experts.

Mysore Sanjeev, the convener of Project Jeevan Raksha who conducted the analysis, said, "Dakshina Kannada, which has had around one lakh total Covid cases so far, witnessed 197 deaths in July alone, whereas Bengaluru Urban which has had 12.28 lakh cases till now (12 times more cases than Dakshina Kannada) witnessed 207 deaths in July."

"Across Karnataka, Covid deaths increased by 3.6% in July. The government should conduct an effective root-cause analysis of the sharp variance in district-wise deaths," Sanjeev said.

Also read: More than half of hospitalised Covid-19 cases among vaccinated in Bengaluru

This could be due to under-reporting of cases, delayed testing, ineffective testing or lack of competence to treat critical patients, leading to a sharp increase in the death toll, he explained.

Dr Jagadeesh, Dakshina Kannada district surveillance officer, said, "We have a lot of cases coming from outside. Not only from Dakshina Kannada, but we get cases from other districts also, as also from Kerala. We are treating everyone. There is no question of delayed testing or defective tests. There is no problem in the availability of beds at all."

Dr Ashok H, Covid nodal officer, Dakshina Kannada district, said, "There is no dearth of critical care infrastructures like ICU, ventilators or oxygen. DK did not have oxygen shortage even when Bengaluru was struggling for the same. As per the government's instructions, all patients even with other ailments like neurological disorders are counted as Covid deaths if found positive."

"Also, if they hail from other districts and merely the RT-PCR test is done here, the death is counted as that of our district," he added.

Dismissing the possibility of under-reporting of cases, he said, "Dakshina Kannada is declaring every case and death. Patients themselves may have reported late to a health facility, which is revealed in our verbal autopsies, as each death is analysed by the death audit committee."