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Covid-19: Bihar Death Toll Could Be Ten Times the Official Figure, Data Suggests

Family member mourn the death of a COVID-19 victim at Patna Medical College and Hospital in Patna, Friday, May 14, 2021. (PTI)

Family member mourn the death of a COVID-19 victim at Patna Medical College and Hospital in Patna, Friday, May 14, 2021. (PTI)

The Patna HC observed that the Bihar government's reluctance to put the state's COVID death toll in the public domain is uncalled for.

At least 75,000 people died in Bihar in the first five months of 2021, according to data from the state’s Civil Registration System. The reason behind these deaths are unexplained, but the time period coincides with the second wave of coronavirus in the country. In stark contrast to this number, Bihar’s official Covid-19 death fatalities figure for January-May 2021 stand at 7,717, NDTV reported.

In January-May 2019, Bihar had reported about 1.3 lakh deaths while the figure for the same time period in 2021 was almost 2.2 lakh, according to data from the state’s Civil Registration System. A difference of about 82,500 deaths was recorded. More than half of this 62 per cent increase was reported in May this year.

However, Bihar’s official Covid death fatality tally for January to May 2021 was 7,717, which was announced earlier this month after the state added 3,951 to the total. Despite the fact that authorities have not said when these deaths, as indicated in the updated total, happened, it is likely that they did so in 2021.

Despite this, the total number of certified Covid fatalities in the state is a fraction of the excess deaths documented by the state’s Civil Registration System — a discrepancy of 74,808 deaths to be exact.

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Amid reports of Bihar underreporting, the Patna High Court on Friday observed that the Bihar government’s reluctance to put the state’s COVID death toll in the public domain is uncalled for.

It is the most recent state to be suspected of undercounting. Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Delhi all saw similar trends.

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first published:June 19, 2021, 22:55 IST