Tamil Nadu issues 1.5 lakh death certificates in May 2021 alone, says a study by NGO  Arappor Iyakkam
Tamil Nadu issues 1.5 lakh death certificates in May 2021 alone, says a study by NGO Arappor Iyakkam
(Photo by AFP)

Chennai: Tamil Nadu government's civil registration system has revealed over 1.42 lakh more people have died between Jan 1 and June 25 this year as compared to the same period in 2019, a non-Covid-19 year, said Arappor Iyakkam, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), on Saturday.

In a statement issued here Arappor Iyakkam said: "There is excess mortality of around 142,143 between the period of 1st January 2021 to 25th June 2021 compared to the non Covid year 2019 during the same period."

"However, the Covid death bulletin has revealed only 19,929 Covid deaths during the same period," the NGO added.

As per the Civil Registration System (CRS) data on May 26 2021, Tamil Nadu had recorded only 292,796 deaths. However, the CRS data at the end of day on June 25 records a total of 449,324 deaths.

"This means that Tamil Nadu Government has issued a whopping 156,528 death certificates in the last 30 days alone," Arappor Iyakkam said.

This confirms that the bulk of excess mortality took place in May 2021 as death certificates are issued within 21 days of death, the NGO said.

"Massive excess mortality of 142,143 between the period of 1st January 2021 and 25th June 2021 also confirms Arappor's estimate released earlier that the excess mortality in April and May 2021 may be between 1,08,721 and 1,26,841 based on extrapolation of data of 6 hospitals," the NGO said.

It must be understood that the excess mortality between January and March 2021 is minimal as can be seen in our research report as well. The bulk of excess mortality happened in April to June 2021 and more particularly in May 2021 when the second wave was at its peak.

The Arappor Iyakkam has called the Tamil Nadu government to set up a mechanism to independently audit mortality for revision of Covid death numbers, ensure a simple grievance redressal mechanism for revision of cause of death in the medical certification for those who passed away due to Covid as per WHO/ICMR guidelines of Covid mortality code.

"Otherwise, a lot of children eligible for compensation because of losing a parent to Covid may have to run from pillar to post unsuccessfully because of the wrong marking of the cause of death," the NGO added.

Explaining the mode of arriving at its figures, Arappor Iyakkam said, in the year 2019 which is a non Covid year, the total deaths in the state for the entire year is 637,051.

Proportionately, the number of deaths from Jan 1 2019 to June 25, 2019 would be 307,181.

Arappor Iyakkam's month wise data available for Chennai clearly showed us that the number of deaths in the first six months and the last six months are roughly the same in 2019.

"Therefore, taking proportional data for 2019 should be valid. During the same period, the number of deaths in 2021 is 449,324. Therefore, there is excess mortality between 1st January 2021 and 25th June 2021. This is 449,324-307,181 142,143," Arappor Iyakkam said.

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