New Delhi: At a time when the number of new COVID-19 infections and deaths are reducing every day in India, the country quite literally shocked the world after 6,148 fatalities were reported in the past 24 hours.
This is the highest single-day COVID-19 death toll reported from anywhere in the world.
However these deaths did not happen in the past 24 hours, instead is the result of Bihar revising its COVID-19 fatality figures.
Bihar’s new figures
COVID-19 death toll in Bihar was on Wednesday revised drastically upwards by the state health department, which put the total number of fatalities caused by the pandemic at 9,429.
Bihar added 3,951 ‘missing’ COVID-19 deaths to its tally after a state health department audit.
The government has however not specified when these deaths took place, but it has provided the breakup of deaths in all 38 districts in the state.
As per the latest figures, maximum fatalities were reported in Patna district where the death toll stands at 2,303, followed by Muzaffarpur, which has recorded 609 fatalities so far. Patna also accounted for the highest number of additional deaths reported after verification on Wednesday with 1,070 new fatalities.
Forced to audit
The Bihar government was forced to relook into the deaths in the state after the Patna high court flagged irregularities in death figures in Buxar district following which the administration did an audit of COVID-19 deaths at private hospitals and homes not recorded earlier. Many relatives of COVID-19 victims in Bihar had alleged that they were given negative certificates even when their kin who died had all the symptoms to keep the death count low.
Bihar is not alone
Bihar is not the only state that has been accused of underreporting COVID-19 deaths there. On Wednesday, the Uttarakhand high court which was hearing a bunch of PILs alleging delays in reporting Covid deaths by hospitals ordered the government to conduct an audit of Covid deaths in the state and submit its report by June 21.
UP, Kerala reworking on death toll updation
In other states like Uttar Pradesh where hundreds of corps of suspected COVID-19 were found floating in the River Ganga and buried on its banks too there are allegations of underreporting of deaths. In Kerala, the government said a new software will be used to report COVID-related deaths in the state from June 15.
The new software, the cause of death will be confirmed within a maximum of three days and the family will be informed.
This comes in the backdrop of the opposition, both Congress and BJP, alleging that Kerala is underreporting COVID-19 deaths and many deaths occurring due to COVID-related illness are not being categorised as COVID deaths.
During the first wave of COVID-19 last year too several states including Delhi, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu had revised their initial death counts to add many which were not initially reported.
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