State COVID-19 fatalities reach new high

Another casualty: The body of a COVID-19 victim being shifted to a crematorium in Bengaluru on Friday.  

Karnataka on Friday logged the biggest single day spike in COVID-19 fatalities with 592 patients succumbing to the disease. Of these, 346 are from Bengaluru Urban alone. Of the 592 deaths, 58 died at home and 12 were declared brought dead at hospitals.

The number of deaths have been on a steep rise since April 23. From 190 deaths on April 23, the toll increased to 217 on April 30 and 270 on May 1. Subsequently, 292 deaths were reported on May 4, 346 on May 5 and 328 on May 6. The number nearly doubled on May 7 with 592 deaths.

While the day’s case fatality rate (CFR) for Karnataka stood at 1.21%, the cumulative average CFR continues to hover around 1% despite the huge caseload. The highest CFR during the first outbreak was around 1.6%.

In the seven days prior to May 4, the highest CFR was recorded in Chamarajanagar at 1.89% followed by Haveri at 1.74%, Ballari at 1.37%, and Shivamogga at 1.32%. Bengaluru Urban, which contributes to nearly half of the total deaths in the State had a CFR of 0.54% then.

V. Ravi, nodal officer for genomic confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 in Karnataka, who is part of the State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), said the deaths seen today are the cases that were positive two weeks ago. “Usually, fatalities will appear 14 days after the surge in cases. Today’s deaths are of the cases that were reported on April 23-24 who subsequently developed complications,” he said.

“Most are reporting late to hospitals after their oxygen saturation dips by when it is too late. The 592 deaths are the reported deaths whereas the actual number of deaths are usually high and can vary anywhere between two-five times more. This is because many would not even have reached the healthcare system to be labelled as COVID-19 deaths. This explains the long queues of ambulances with bodies at crematoria in the last fortnight,” he said. “If there is proper bed management and oxygen and essential drug requirements are met, more fatalities can be prevented,” he added.

C.N. Manjunath, director, Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, and nodal officer for labs and testing in the State’s COVID-19 task force, said that the very fact that all ICU beds are full clearly indicates that many critical patients are in hospitals. “In such a scenario, fatalities are sure to mount. Initially, the CFR was low but it was too early to predict as actual mortality figures would start showing up only after a week or two of admission,” he said.

Four factors

Listing out four factors for the high number of fatalities, Dr. Manjunath said: “With cases increasing at such a rapid pace, there has been a tremendous stress on the entire healthcare system. Many who require ICU beds are not getting them and those who get admitted are not able to make it as their condition would have worsened. Besides, a considerable percentage of home isolation patients are deteriorating after the first week without proper monitoring.”

Anoop Amarnath, member, Karnataka’s Critical Care Support Unit (CCSU), who heads the department of Geriatric Medicine at Manipal Hospitals, attributed the increase to the elevated Test Positivity Rate (TPR). He said if a proper system of objective triaging is followed, the right patients can be admitted at the right centres. “It all depends on proper triaging. Those with mild symptoms can be sent to COVID-19 Care Centres or monitored at home. Only those who require intensive care should be admitted till logistical issues are sorted,” he added.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2021 3:06:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/state-covid-19-fatalities-reach-new-high/article34510710.ece

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