Karnataka districts see lowest deaths in last 4 weeks

12 Karnataka districts report lowest deaths in last 4 weeks

The number of Covid-19 deaths has seen a dramatic decline in recent days, to the point that several districts have either reported zero to a few fatalities in the last 30 days.

According to the data from the Department of Health and Family Welfare, three districts - Yadagir, Shivamogga, and Gadag - have reported no Covid-19 deaths at all in the last four weeks, while an additional 10 districts, such as Bagalkot, Belagavi, Chikkamagalur, Davangere, Haveri, Koppal, Mandya, Raichur, Ramanagar and Udupi have reported just one or two deaths.

Shivamogga’s turnaround comes in spite of it being one of the districts at the focal point of Karnataka’s Covid-19 outbreak. The district had 21,489 cases on November 27. By December 27, this had risen by 2.2% or 492 cases.

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According to Dr Rajesh Suragihalli, district health officer, Shivamogga’s first Covid-19 case was discovered on May 9. “By June, we had 125 cases and the numbers began to multiply. The deaths began to rack up. Between July and September when we were seeing slightly under a dozen deaths per day,” he said.

Dr Suragihalli attributed the sharp decline in cases and deaths in recent days as a product of winning public confidence. 

“By scaling up of medical infrastructure, especially in the number of oxygen beds, plus liberal use of Remdesivir to treat patients (about 33% of patients were treated with Remdesivir), we were able to build public confidence to the point that hesitancy among people to report symptoms was reduced. Consequently, deaths due to late diagnosis were cut down,” he added.

While several officials confirmed that Remedesvir had been vital to saving lives, Dr Ravindra Mehta, a veteran pulmonologist at Apollo Hospitals and a member of the State Covid Technical Committee, added that the reduction of ICU cases had been the key factor.

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“With approximately 5% of all Covid-19 patients requiring ICU support, the decline in new Covid-19 cases means reduced demand for ICU. This has benefitted medical resource management,” he said.

According to the official data, districts, where case numbers have not seen a precipitous decline, continue to report sizable deaths.

Bengaluru Urban is at that end of the spectrum. The city (Bengaluru) accounts for 50% of all new daily cases. Its cases, over a 30-day period, have seen a 5% increase, with 185 deaths reported during that period. But intriguingly, in Mandya district, where the case increase is also high (4.9%), the death increase has been minimal. Just one death was recorded in the last 30 days.

Even Mysuru district, the second worst-hit district in Karnataka, added just 15 deaths in the last one month. 

“Mask-wearing has helped. We have seen a decline in respiratory diseases, in general, this year in the district when compared to 2019,” said Dr Chidambaram, the acting district health officer in Mysuru.