Maharashtra which tops the list of most coronavirus cases in India seems to be not reporting the accurate number of COVID deaths. A massive data reconciliation exercise conducted in the state revealed that least 1,328 deaths due to COVID-19 went unreported. Of them, 862 are Coronavirus deaths in Mumbai, which the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had not reported.
While the State officials insist that they have been transparent in providing facts and report all deaths once the final figures are matched, the opposition has taken the opportunity questioning the intent of the Government and whether “it is an attempt to hide facts.”
The reconciliation process has just started and will continue to look into all positive cases reported in the state, which makes it a shocking fact that such a massive number of deaths went unreported.
As a result of the updating, the death rate has now jumped from 3.7 per cent to 4.8 per cent. Once a patient dies, the process to confirm a Coronavirus death may take several days, and can have various reasons for a Corona death to go unreported.
The city, which is recovering from a near miss from Cyclone Nisarga, continues to battle with the increasing number of coronavirus cases, as the total tally surpassed Wuhan on June 9, with over 51,000 positive cases in Mumbai.
With the state deciding to open schools soon and the recent crisis regarding the hike in fees by private schools addressed by the education department, Mumbaikars seem to have their hands full this monsoon season.
Thackeray’s ‘Good News’ Tweet
The cherry on top of the unabating crises in Mumbai is the recent tweet bearing ‘good news’ by Adithya Thackeray, Maharashtra cabinet minister for Tourism and Environment, quoting statistics from the BMC. The tweet was posted a day after the city crossed Wuhan in the global tally, stated that the total death rate has reduced to 3 per cent, the discharge rate by 44 per cent and the doubling rate of the city was at 24.5 days, which was close to the national average of 16.
The good news from Municipal Commissioner of @mybmc today:
As of yesterday,
1. Mumbai’s doubling rate was at 24.5 (national ave is 16)
2. Death Rate has lowered to 3% (almost at par with national ave)
3. Discharge rate is 44%
4. Dharavi doubling days at 42 days
— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) June 10, 2020
The fact that how “good” the news is evident with the number of rising positive cases and the unreported cases in the financial capital of the nation. As of June 16, the total number of positive cases in the state stands at 1.10 lakh, accounting for over 5,537 deaths.
In these testing times, while it is important to stay hopeful, it is equally essential to be vigilant. For the public to understand the gravity of the situation, there is a need for authentic information from official sources instead of claims that might lead people to have false hope, which ultimately paves the way to carelessness.
Mumbai’s battle with COVID-19
Within ninety days of the first positive case, reported in Mumbai in March, the city currently has crossed the number of cases reported in Wuhan.
According to a recent DNA news report, the high number of cases brought to light two main concerns. The first is that combating the spread of the disease in one of the densely populated slum dwellings in Asia, Dharavi might be the biggest challenge. However, despite this, the numbers of positive cases do seem to be stagnating instead of increasing.
The second notable concern is the increasing number of police officers testing positive for the virus. Over 30,000 police personnel have been affected by the disease so far among which over 30 deaths reported as of now.
It is also noteworthy to observe the tally has risen a day after the launch of ‘Unlock 1.0’, leading to the opening of shopping malls, restaurants, and places of worship. Though the Union health ministry has issued a Standard Opening Procedures to be followed by these establishments, several measures and their implementation have been left to the State Government.
The Government claims that the relaxation of the two-month lockdown was necessary due to stop the economy from falling further. Despite this, the State Governments must focus on implementing proper guidelines and look into increasing the awareness of these measures among citizens instead of trying to propagate a false picture of hope and betterment of an already deteriorating situation before it worsens further.
Now, that the actual number of deaths is getting recorded, the death toll in the state is expected hike. It is now in the hands of the State Government to see as to how to handle the situation and also to maintain a transparency in providing the facts rather than keeping the people in the dark.