SII’s Adar Poonawalla to meet Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tomorrow

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As R-factor hovers around 1 in some states, India registered a marginal increase in the daily caseload on Thursday. The government bulletin says that 42, 982 fresh coronavirus cases were officially registered in the last 24 hours. It was also the second consecutive day when India logged over 500 Covid fatalities. The health bulletin said that 533 Indians lost their lives due to Covid complications. In yet another subtle sign, the number of active cases in India are on a gradual upward path. At present, India has 4,11,076 active Covid cases, the official health bulletin says. The daily vaccination rate plunged to 37,45,862 on August 4. In comparison with August 3 data, there was a drop of 42.8 per cent.

Talking about the next phase of the pandemic in India, the third wave of the coronavirus has made a quiet entry in India via Kerala. The Covid trajectory in the state clearly shows what the epidemiologists are terming as the early phase of the third wave. While the easing of lockdowns etc has helped the Indian economy to revive, the nation must get the clear answer from the haunting of the second wave – how many Indians died during the harrowing months of April and May this year? As an Indian Express report says that the Centre has already given the answer – 1.69 lakh. But the question arises – is this the absolute figure? Well, the answer is no.

The states have been quietly revising the numbers in the process known as reconciling the Covid death data. From Bihar to Maharashtra to Kerala, states have been updating his figure from time to time. However, these figures don’t actually tell us the enormity of the crisis. One fact, which even the Narendra Modi government agrees that ‘deaths can only be estimated and the exact data may never be known.’

One of the key figures that may help is in understanding the difference between the official death count and the under-reported deaths are ‘all cause deaths’. This essentially means that these are as the term mean deaths registered with any reason except for Covid. Any person, who died during the second wave will be part of the ‘all cause deaths’ These are in excess of the registered Covid deaths. Now, the problem is that since the person was not tested for corona, we may never know how many people went unregistered as Covid deaths.

The ‘all cause deaths’, can, however, help us know the excess death and officials can arrive at an estimate. The gap between all cause deaths and the registered Covid deaths is the only way to know the scale of under-reporting. But even this would also take more than a year.

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