India’s Covid-19 Death Toll Near 12,000-Mark: In Charts
Crematorium for Covid-19 victims in Delhi. (Source: PTI)

India’s Covid-19 Death Toll Near 12,000-Mark: In Charts

India reported the biggest single-day spike in coronavirus deaths, taking the total tally of fatalities to nearly 12,000, as the pace of transmission of infection in the world’s fourth-worst affected nation continues to escalate.

The world’s second-most populous nation took just seven days to add more than 2,500 casualties and 11 days to double its death count to 11,903. Total number of people who succumbed to the disease rose by 2,003 in the last 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry’s update on June 17.

The spike in new deaths and faster doubling rate came after Maharashtra government revised its death toll to recognise more than 1,300 Covid-19-related fatalities.

The highly contagious pathogen has so far infected 354,065 people in India, including 186,935 recoveries.

Yet, India’s Covid-19 mortality rate—deaths as a proportion of total cases—is one of the lowest among global peers, including the U.S., Russia, Italy and Brazil that had witnessed a larger outbreak.

India’s managed to slightly lower its mortality rate from 3.4% in May to 3.36% as on June 17.

But what’s worrying is the rate at which the number of deaths have risen in the last few weeks in India. The seven-day rolling average suggests that India’s pace of reporting new fatalities is the fourth-fastest among nations that have added more than 5,000 deaths.

India, on average, had added more than 500 deaths in the last seven days compared with 975 fresh deaths in Brazil, 722 in the U.S. and 504 in Mexico. Before Maharashtra and Delhi revised their death tally, India’s seven-day rolling average was at 331.

This comes at a time death rate has started to decelerate in some developed nations such as Italy, France and the U.K.

“Lower mortality rate only suggests that we need to further study what has helped and it might be good news for now, but we need to prepare for the future as more cases are coming in,” Dr. Giridhar R Babu, professor and head of lifecourse epidemiology at Public Health Foundation of India, told BloombergQuint over the phone.

How Indian States Fare

Maharashtra, Delhi and Gujarat together account for more than 75% of the total deaths in the country. India’s richest state is the worst-hit, with more than 5,000 virus-related casualties.

A month ago, these three states accounted for 66% of the total Covid-19 deaths in India.

Gujarat, India’s ninth-most populous state, has the highest mortality rate of 6.24%, followed by Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra. The national capital, however, has reported most deaths per million as the virus claimed 1,800 lives in the state, followed by Maharashtra and Gujarat.

State-wise reporting of deaths has been a concern as they have been revising the tally. On Tuesday, Maharashtra recognised 1,328 additional deaths due to Covid-19. Earlier, Delhi and West Bengal, too, had revised their death tally. Its the second time when the national capital revised its death count. Delhi has reported a single-day spike of 473 deaths on Wednesday, taking the total tally to 1,873.

According to the Delhi health bulletin, the total death tally includes all pending casualties reported to and audited by Delhi Audit Committee.

Giridhar Babu said the virus is predominately affecting urban areas with dense population and the death rate is worsening because of delays in reaching the hospital. “It only shows how vulnerable our urban health systems are and in the long term how (we need) to strengthen them.”

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