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West Bengal's 'excess death' figure 11 times official COVID-19 tally, analysis shows

As per the analysis, the high multiple of excess deaths over the COVID-19 death toll in West Bengal was seen in both the first wave of the pandemic in 2020 and the brutal second wave in 2021.

July 26, 2021 / 08:45 AM IST
In a period between April and December 2020, the “excess deaths” figure of 64,520 was 9.4 times the COVID-19 toll of 6,833 in West Bengal. (Representative image: Reuters)

In a period between April and December 2020, the “excess deaths” figure of 64,520 was 9.4 times the COVID-19 toll of 6,833 in West Bengal. (Representative image: Reuters)

The Civil Registration System (CRS) has registered over 1.2 lakh “excess deaths” in West Bengal in a period between April 2020 and May 2021, which is 11.1 times higher than the official reported death toll of 10,787 in the same period, according to an analysis.

The data was compiled on the basis of month-wise deaths registered in the online CRS between January 2018 and May 2021 in West Bengal, accessed by The Hindu. For Kolkata, the data was taken from the Kolkata Municipal Corporation figures.

The analysis did not take five Bengal districts into account due to the unavailability of complete online registration data, said the report. These were Darjeeling, Jhargram, Kalimpong, North 24 Parganas, and Paschim Medinipur. While the online registration data was incomplete for all years for Darjeeling and Kalimpong, it was for some years, 2018 in particular, for Jhargram, North 24 Parganas, and Paschim Medinipur.

As per the analysis, the high multiple of excess deaths over the COVID-19 death toll was seen in both the first wave of the pandemic in 2020 and the brutal second wave in 2021.

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In a period between April and December 2020, the “excess deaths” figure of 64,520 was 9.4 times the COVID-19 toll of 6,833.

In 2021, the “excess deaths” figure of 55,207 was 14.1 times the coronavirus toll of 10,787, the analysis showed. In April and May 2021 – when assembly elections were held in the state, there were 51,353 “excess deaths”, which was 14.4 times the official COVID-19 death toll of 5,212, The Hindu analysed.

At the end of May 2021, the overall COVID-19 death toll for all 23 districts was 15,536. It has now increased to 18,073 as of July 25.

The state's COVID-19 tally rose to 15,23,639 on July 25 as 806 more people tested positive for the infection, while nine fresh fatalities pushed the death toll to 18,073, a bulletin issued by the health department said. At least 892 more people were cured of the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of recoveries in the state to 14,93,770, it said.

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first published: Jul 26, 2021 08:45 am

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