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Rural India Accounted for 53% Covid-19 in May, Facing Excess Mortality, Reveals Report

Representational image. REUTERS

Representational image. REUTERS

Govt sources have revealed that they are trying to revamp the mechanism to report Covid-19 cases and mortality, specifically in rural India

A new statistical report by the Delhi-based research organization, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has revealed that in the month of May six districts in rural India accounted for over 52 percent of deaths due to Covid-19 and 53 percent of all new cases.

The report namely, State of India’s Environment In Figures 2021 apart from throwing light on the abysmal handling of the Covid-19 situation in the rural hinterlands also underscored the striking shortage of healthcare professionals in primary healthcare setups.

It also stressed the need for 76 percent more doctors, 56 percent more radiographers, and 35 percent more lab technicians in order to overcome this situation.

The author of the report and also the managing editor of the fortnightly magazine Down To Earth Richard Mahapatra, contended that in the second wave, India has been the worst-hit globally and rural India has been hit more badly than our urban areas.

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‘In May this year, India alone accounted for more than half of the daily global cases on six days,’ Mahapatra was quoted saying.

As a result of the worsening of the situation in rural India amid the second wave, government sources have revealed that they are trying to revamp the mechanism to report Covid-19 cases and mortality, specifically in rural India, India Today reported.

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Testing and mortality data which was earlier shared in a state-district format will now be further bifurcated into ‘rural and urban areas’ with the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Deliberating on the economic impact of Covid-19, Rajit Sengupta, one of the key authors of the report revealed that the Urban unemployment rate saw an exponential growth to nearly 15 percent in May 2021 which coupled with the rapid spread of covid in rural India is indicative of a slowdown in the GDP growth next year.

Public policy expert Dr. Chandrakant Lahariya attributed the grim situation faced by rural India to excess mortality whereby 3-4 deaths were reported from each village in a month as opposed to the earlier scenario of 1 death per village in two months.

“There are official Covid-19 deaths and we have to remember that any number beyond that would be contested. We would not know the real number till the civil registration system is adopted or followed and we get the real number maybe a year later. There will be a census also and we will know the numbers." Dr. Chandrakant Lahariya was quoted saying.

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first published:June 06, 2021, 09:17 IST