Nearly half of the total 3,03,720 Covid-19 related deaths in India (as of Sunday) happened during the second wave starting February 2021, out of which an overwhelming 1.4 lakh took place after March. Globally, India has the third-highest number of deaths after the United States and Brazil. India now accounts for 9 percent of global deaths and 16 percent of confirmed Covid-19 cases.
Is death count at its peak?
India so far has recorded the highest number of cases on May 6 when it crossed four lakh 14 thousand case count recorded on a single day. The numbers started declining hence. However, as a trend in death number can be witnessed only after a two-week lag, it might be the time to see a decline in fatalities as well. Now looking at statistics, the seven-day average has increased from 4,000 a day to 4, 190 a day, but considerably slower than a few weeks back and with dips in between.
May has been the worst pandemic month for India with close to 92,000 deaths, twice as much as the numbers recorded in April and there is still a week to go by.
The only ray of light is many deaths reported now are of past weeks and were unaccounted for implying the worst is over. Half of Maharashtra’s death count includes deaths that occurred two weeks ago and the same with other states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, two states that had faced the highest number of deaths. . Delayed reporting has been the order for many states. It is even possible some of the deaths that took place in the last few days will be counted two to three weeks late. However, the number of older deaths reported now is considerably higher. Hence when a state clears its backlog of unreported deaths, the death count might come down in the coming days.
Moreover, the weekly CFR (Case fatality ratio) in the last 10 days that is calculated after weighing the number of deaths in a seven-day period against case count in a seven-day period two weeks earlier, has seen a steady decline. It shows a trend in mortality rates. The weekly CFR rose in March peaked around April and has been showing a downward trend ever since. The time it peaked was when an overwhelming number of Covid patients faced a shortage of oxygen, hospital beds etc.
Now the weekly CFR is low right because daily deaths are being measured over cases that existed two weeks earlier. With a rapid decline in daily case count as it is now if the death numbers don’t fall in a few days, the weekly CFR will start increasing again due to the low denominator i.e the number of cases.
Several states like Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand that saw a high fatality rate until two weeks have started witnessing death count go down. However, the sharp rose in figures in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu has maintained the national average. Maharashtra, on the other hand, has been consistent in reporting 800 to 1,000 death a day. Kerala on the other side has witnessed a sudden hike in Covid-19 related deaths. In the last three days, 634 deaths occurred, which is close to 10 percent of the entire death toll.