The Bihar Post

Bihar registers over 2.51 lakh ‘excess deaths’ since COVID-19 outbreak

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Bihar has registered at least 2,51,000 excess deaths under the Civil Registration System (CRS) since the beginning of the COVID-19 in March 2020 to May 2021.

The figure is 48.6 times higher than the official number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths — 5,163 — in the state during the same time period, reported Hindustan Times.

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“Excess deaths” are typically defined as the difference between the observed numbers of deaths in specific time periods and expected numbers of deaths in the same time periods. In case of COVID-19, estimates of “excess deaths” can provide information about the burden of mortality potentially related to the pandemic, including deaths that are directly or indirectly attributed to the novel coronavirus infection.

According to the data accessed by the publication, there were 2,51,053 “excess deaths” since the start of the coronavirus outbreak compared to the corresponding four-year period before the pandemic (2015-2019). The official COVID-19 death toll in the state till May end was 5,163. This shows that as per the CRS data, the official COVID-19 death toll had an undercount factor of 48.6 times, the report stated.

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CRS is a national system of recording all births and deaths, under the Office of the Registrar General of India and implemented on the ground by state governments.

Among the excess deaths, 1,26,000 fatalities were reported in the first five months of 2021 against 3,766 reported COVID-19 deaths in the same period, which resulted in an undercount factor of 33.7 in 2021, said the report.

In the case of Bihar, not all excess deaths may be due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, during a pandemic, such major deviations in deaths is likely to be either directly or indirectly caused by the outbreak and the pressure it had put on the healthcare system in the region, the report suggested.

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