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Maharashtra re-count pushes up Covid deaths by over 8,000

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on June 12, 2021

Maharashtra is not hiding data on deaths linked to Covid-19, the State government said, even as its reconciliation added over 8,000 to the fatality numbers.

Between May 26 and June 10, after the process of reconciliation, 8,074 deaths were added to the cumulative numbers, a senior Maharashtra government official said.

According to the latest, 58.63 lakh were infected by Covid-19 in Maharashtra, of whom 1,01,833 died.

The development comes a day after Bihar reconciled its Covid-19 death numbers with the fatality jumpimg about 72 per cent.

Maharashtra State Surveillance Officer Pradip Awate told BusinessLine that these are “old deaths” (8,074) and did not happened on a particular day. Local district or corporation administrations have updated these numbers on the portals. Such numbers have been mentioned in the daily press briefings by the Department in a transparent manner, he said, adding that the reconciliation was a continuous process.

Massive data

Awate explained that the Covid data generated in the State was massive and its management was not easy. The State has over 6,000 hospitals, with about 70 per cent in the private sector. They have been provided with an app for updating patient data. However, it also happens that, as the hospitals are busy treating patients, uploading of the data does not happen on time.

Therefore, the district administration or a municipal corporation takes the data from these hospitals and uploads them onto multiple portals. But as there is a lag in these uploads, it is not real-time data, he said.

The Maharashtra Health Department also explained that pathology laboratories fill out information on the ICMR portal. And, often, the information of the samples tested does not get uploaded on time. If the information about the tested sample remains pending, it does not appear on the ‘positive patient portal’. Therefore, there are difficulties in filling up the discharge or death information of such patients on time.

Not just Maharashtra, States like Tamil Nadu has also revised Covid-related deaths data in the past. Experts have welcomed such revision in the interest of transparency and credibility. More States could come under pressure to revisit their data, say experts, given the allegations of under-counting. Recently, the Uttarakhand High Court also asked the State government to audit Covid-related deaths.

Published on June 11, 2021

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