India reported the world's highest ever single-death day toll at 6,148 COVID-19 deaths on June 10, 2021, taking the total COVID-19 death toll in the country to 3,59,676.
The sudden jump in numbers is being attributed to a revision in the number of deaths by Bihar. According to a death audit conducted by the state, Bihar missed out on counting close to 4,000 COVID-19 deaths. The state revised its total death count to over 9,429, adding 3,951 to its total tally as shown in the COVID-19 bulletin shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The Patna High Court had asked the Nitish Kumar state government to conduct a death toll audit in the months of April-May as there were increasing allegations that the state was under-reporting its casualties. This 20-day exercise revealed that the state had indeed missed counting close to 4,000 deaths.
Even though the Bihar government has shared a district-wise distribution of revised deaths, it did not share a time period of when these deaths were reported in these 38 districts. Unlike Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala which conduct routine audits to verify deaths, this is the first such audit conducted by Bihar. It is unclear whether all these deaths are from 2021 or 2020.
While this increase has not adversely affected the case fatality rate of the country (1.22 per cent to 1.23 per cent), it has affected Bihar's fatality as well as recovery rate. The state's recovery rate has fallen to 97.65 per cent from 98.70 per cent as these deaths were earlier counted as recoveries.
The state's COVID-19 case fatality rate has jumped to 1.32 per cent from 0.76 per cent after this 72 per cent increase in its total deaths.
A committee of district level officials as well as administrating staff from medical hospitals started this exercise from May 18, 2021. They reported the revised numbers on June 8, 2021.
|Date||Total COVID-19 Deaths Reported|
Patna accounted for over 1070 unaccounted deaths. It had reported 1223 deaths but the audit revealed that the state actually had over 2273 deaths. Patna is followed by Begusarai with 316 missed deaths.
Currently, India has the third highest number of deaths in the world. It follows US and Brazil. This audit, however suggests that the death toll could be much higher in India if proper data collection methods were followed, as several experts have been pointing out.
With close to three crore cases, the country is second in the world with US leading at 3.3 crore cases.
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