With the number of deaths in the third wave on a steady rise, an analysis by the State Health Department has found that over 55% of the total deaths reported till January 27 have happened within two days of reporting to hospitals.
With 81 deaths on Wednesday and 60 on Thursday, a total of 857 deaths have been reported from January 1 till February 3. Of these, over 51% have been reported in the last one week alone. An analysis of 373 deaths in the period between January 1 and January 27 based on reporting time found that 206 deaths (55.3%) happened within two days of reporting to hospitals.
While 92 deaths happened in two to five days of reporting, 45 deaths happened beyond five days of reporting, the analysis found. The remaining 30 deaths were those who died at home, during transit or were brought dead.
State Health Commissioner D Randeep told The Hindu that a similar pattern was being observed in the total 857 deaths. “Overall, nearly 60% of the deaths are happening within two days of reporting to hospitals. This is a worrying trend as some of these deaths could have been prevented in terms of early intervention,” he said.
The Department has now directed the district COVID death audit committees to audit all the January deaths and submit a report by February 5, the Commissioner said. “Once the audit is completed, we will summarise the results and chalk out early intervention strategies,” he said.
Pointing out that the reason for deaths within two days of reporting to hospitals is late presentation, the Commissioner said: “These people would have ignored symptoms at home for long and would have rushed to hospitals only when symptoms aggravated. The death audit will also assess the treatment.”
C.N. Manjunath, nodal officer for labs and testing in the State’s COVID-19 task force and member of the State’s Clinical Experts Committee, said the rise in the number of deaths at the fag end of a wave is a standard pattern observed during the pandemic.
“In the beginning of any wave, active cases will be more and deaths will be less. However, towards the tail end active cases will be less and deaths will be more. This is because it takes two to four weeks for a build-up in cases and the resultant rise in the case fatality rate,” he said, cautioning people with comorbidities to take precautions.
High risk group
Anoop Amarnath, member of Karnataka’s COVID critical care support unit (CCSU), who heads the department of Geriatric Medicine at Manipal Hospitals, said the mortality rate is high among the elderly, especially those with multiple comorbidities.
The CCSU has been reiterating that the basic criteria of clinical, biochemical and radiological evaluation should be the standard treatment protocol in high risk patients, he said. “It is not just symptoms but vital markers such as D-dimer, Ferritin, LDH, IL6 and high resolution chest CT that will help in assessing disease severity. Evaluation of these markers still holds good in high risk patients,” the doctor added.