Bengaluru Covid cremation count is double the official death toll | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: Between March 1 and April 26, the state government reported 1,422 Covid-related deaths in Bengaluru. Data collated by TOI from 12 dedicated crematoria shows that 3,104 Covid protocol cremations were done in the same period — meaning numbers on the ground are more than double the official count.
And this is without factoring the numbers from some of the smaller facilities under BBMP, and the Christian and Muslim burial grounds among others, data for which is not immediately available. Crematorium staffers add that most Covid-19 victims are being cremated as deeper pits are mandated to bury infected bodies.

So, even if 10-12% (310-465) of these Covid-compliant cremations were of those who were awaiting test results, it would still mean a gap of 100% between reported and actual numbers.
BBMP chief Gaurav Gupta said: “I don’t have the exact difference, but we know that there’s a gap. But given how sensitive the issue is, we are not turning away bodies that come from neighbouring districts, which could be adding to numbers at crematoria.”
Crematoria taking in bodies from other dists: Official
BBMP joint commissioner Sarfaraz Khan, said: “I’ve checked with the registrar in-charge of deaths and the gap in cremations and deaths appears to be correct. However, crematoria are also taking in bodies from other districts and those of ILI/SARI cases. That is, their Covid report is negative, but CT scans are showing Covidlike symptoms. These are not included in the official database. The difference could be because of that.”
He, however, could not immediately pinpoint as to how many of the 1,682 unreported deaths could be due to ILI/ SARI.
Of the facilities TOI procured data from, Sumanahalli has handled the most bodies, 571, followed by Kengeri (502).
An analysis of the toll from the three neighbouring districts — Kolar (28), Chikkaballapur (14) and Bengaluru Rural (52) — shows that only 94 deaths were added in the said 57 days. Which means that even after adding these numbers, the under-reporting is huge.
A Suresh, state secretary of Ambedkar Dalit Sangharsha Samiti (DSS) which represents the crematoria staff, said: “We’ve been pointing out the problem from late March but no additional arrangements were made. The BBMP is now scrambling to do that but it is already late.”
Dr HM Prasanna, president of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association had said last week: “Nearly 30% of all RT-PCR tests are showing negative in the past couple of weeks, but CT scans clearly show Covid-like deterioration in the lungs. The government is not allowing us to admit these patients under the Covid quota.”

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Sagar Biswas

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