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Over 1.7K COVID deaths in November, experts say many from outside city

Over 1.7K COVID deaths in November, experts say many from outside city
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New Delhi: Delhi, which has been reeling under the third wave of coronavirus, has reported a death rate of 1.58 per cent as compared to the national fatality rate of 1.48 per cent.

Experts attribute the high number of daily COVID-19 deaths in the national capital to a large number of "critical" non-residents patients coming to the city for treatment, unfavourable weather, pollution and better "reporting and mapping" of fatalities. They say the easing of restrictions has exposed the vulnerable population, such as the elderly and those having comorbidities, to the deadly virus.

In November alone, Delhi has recorded 1,759 fatalities till November 21 - around 83 deaths per day. The number of deaths breached the 100-mark four times in the last 10 days. Authorities reported 111 fatalities on Saturday, 118 on Friday, 131 deaths on Wednesday, the highest to date, and 104 on November 12.

The average fatality rate in Delhi stands at 1.58 per cent at present, which is higher than the national death rate of 1.48 per cent, according to government data.

At 3.2 per cent, Punjab's fatality rate is the maximum among all states and Union Territories. Maharashtra (2.6 per cent), Sikkim (2 per cent), Gujarat (2 per cent), West Bengal (1.8 per cent), Puducherry (1.7 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (1.6 per cent) and Uttarakhand (1.6 per cent) have recorded more deaths per 100 confirmed cases than Delhi.

Dr BL Sherwal, the managing director of Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital, said, "Seventy per cent of those who have died due to coronavirus were elderly or had comorbidities," he said. Dr Sherwal said that mostly young people were getting infected before the lockdown curbs were lifted.

NK Ganguly, former director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research, said mapping of deaths had become better as compared to the initial months. "Earlier, all COVID-19 deaths were not being counted. Reasons other than coronavirus were attributed to the deaths that occurred in households and small hospitals. Now, each death is being confirmed and counted due to better testing facilities," he said.

An official from a Delhi government hospital said the high fatality rate was also due to the large number of non-resident critical patients coming to the city for treatment.

"These serious patients come to Delhi after exhausting all their options. It is natural that the deaths will be more here as compared to other places," he said. The official said another important parameter is "reporting infrastructure". "The mapping and reporting of deaths in the national capital is better as compared to other places," the official claimed.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs, after having stepped in to coordinate COVID-19 efforts in Delhi, claimed that the number of RT-PCR tests in Delhi had exceeded the number of rapid antigen tests conducted on Friday. Moreover, the massive door-to-door survey is underway and over 3.7 lakh people have been surveyed so far. Curiously, the Delhi government's testing figures do not match that of the MHA's claims.

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