This correspondence News | The Curious Case of Assam’s Low Covid Fatality Rate


It used to be not like before when Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma used to update on Covid 19 infection and deaths at a real-time basis on his tweeter maintain. Now, he does it once in a day, mostly evening. On the other hand, despite the updates are less, the numbers of Covid19 positive cases and deaths are on the fixed up.

So far over 400 people have died of Covid 19 in Assam. But what worries is Sarma’s recent commentary when he said that there might be more deaths, almost 1000, because of Covid19 but not recorded. His commentary will also be assessed in this kind of way that there are deaths because of the virus infection but either not in a hospital or not recorded medically.

On July 11, the Assam government formed a death audit board for Covid-19 in accordance with the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR’s) guidelines. “Officially a death will be attributed to Covid-19 only after the board has ascertained it,” the minister then informed. But the fact is that ICMR has never really useful states to set up death audit panels. Yet, several states have set them up.

But reports have revealed that in Assam, the death audit board appears to be doing the exact opposite task – discounting deaths that are supposed to have been thought to be Covid-19 fatalities as per the ICMR protocol. A recent outline claimed that the board has discounted a minimum of 550 people who died after testing positive for Covid-19 and termed non-Covid 19 deaths based on several technicalities of the guidelines. It used to be also found that people who have posthumously tested positive for Covid-19 in Assam were also not been counted in the complete death toll.

Surveys have found that in India, undercounting of Covid-19 deaths comes in two types. First are the suspected Covid-19 deaths – people with clinical symptoms of the disease but there used to be no laboratory confirmation. These deaths have been ignored nearly across the board in India. The second one is the failure to count deaths of laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases. This is what Assam has allegedly done. According to the board in the state, the reason for death in those cases used to be not Covid-19, but other comorbidities.

Going by the trend, it may be guessed easily that just about over 50% of the deaths of lab-confirmed positive cases have not been counted as Covid-19 deaths.

Sarcastically, Assam is officially the state with the lowest mortality rate in India with 0.30% of death rate.

The Bodoland/ Assam / India / International


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