Mumbai: Despite corona cases having been brought under control in Mumbai, the mortality rate continues to remain at 5.67 per cent, much higher than that in the rest of the nation and state - 2.57 per cent and 3.96 per cent, respectively. Civic officials have attributed this to the reconciliation of unreported deaths last month, delay in treatment and many people dying at home after having self-medicated without consulting their doctors.
Until June 15, Mumbai’s Covid fatality rate (CFR) stood at 3.79 but jumped sharply to 6 per cent the following day, after the state government added 862 deaths on a single day as part of its data reconciliation process. Mumbai’s CFR was 3.22 per cent on May 25 and 3.24 per cent on May 31 while the national CFR is 2.57%.
According to a civic health official, “In the last one month, the city has recorded 3,200 deaths, with an average of 106 deaths daily. After the jump in the CFR when the state government added 862 unreported deaths, the city's mortality rate has held steady at 5.67 for the last two weeks. On the other hand, the state mortality rate has come down to 3.96 per cent, from the 4.8 per cent recorded on June 16.”
Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said, despite the overall CFR for Mumbai being 5.7 per cent, its daily CFR has come down to 4 per cent. “As the base gets higher, it will take time for the overall fatality rate to come down. There are many factors for Mumbai’s CFR being higher than the rest of the state. Unreported and deaths at home are major factors in the increase of CFR,” he said.
In March and April, Mumbai had limited testing capacity and thousands of people had come from abroad – almost 1.7 lakh people had arrived in flights and many were testing positive. “At this time, many people succumbed to their illness at home, afraid to consult doctors, which led to delay in treatment,” Kakani added.
An examination of BMC data reveals that 11 of 24 wards have mortality rates higher than 6 per cent. Until July 14, H-west ward had the mortality rate of 9 per cent, followed by M-west (8.57%), H-east (8.50%), L ward (8.38%), B ward (7.94%), M-east (7.83%) and so on. However, six wards have mortality rates of less than 4 per cent.
According to Dr Ashit Hegde, Consultant Physician, P D Hinduja Hospital & MRC, “Unlike the rest of Maharashtra, Mumbai had a huge number of patients in the last two months. Our healthcare systems were overwhelmed, patients were not getting timely treatment, either because they were reluctant to seek treatment because of the stigma or because beds were not available. The death rates in Mumbai are also declining now because we have ramped up our facilities, all patients are able to find beds, we have learnt a lot more about the disease and we have drugs available. Also in the rest of Maharashtra, many Covid deaths may have been under-reported because of inadequate testing,” he said.