Cases Dropping, But Bengaluru Covid Fatality Rate Higher Than Karnataka's

The number of deaths reported from Bengaluru have doubled in the last month and was at a cumulative total of 14,875 in data released on Sunday.

Bengaluru's data on Sunday showed 187 Covid-linked deaths. (File)

Bengauru:

With a lockdown in place and what is, hopefully, the slowing of the second wave, the number of new coronavirus cases in Bengaluru has been reducing. But the case fatality rate, or CFR, is high.

The number of deaths reported from Bengaluru have doubled in the last month and was at a cumulative total of 14,875 in data released on Sunday.

According to this data, the case fatality rate in Bengaluru was 7.71 per cent as compared to the overall 2.62 per cent in Karnataka.

Bengaluru's data on Sunday showed 187 Covid-linked deaths.

The chief of the city's civic body, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), has said deaths recorded on one day did not all happen on that day. This even though it is that figure that is used to calculate the case fatality rate.

Gaurav Gupta, BBMP commissioner, told NDTV, "If you see the health bulletin which is issued by the state government everyday, these numbers are pertaining to deaths that have happened 20,30,40 days back. Date of death is also reported in the bulletin. Kindly draw your own conclusions based on that."

The number of Covid cases in the city are coming down - there were less than 3,000 reported in the city according to Sunday's data - but the number of deaths is not coming down at the same rate. The ratio of deaths to cases is higher.

Dr Vishal Rao, a member of Karnataka's Covid Committee explains, "As the total number of cases is going down the denominator needs to change. That is what is leading to a rise in the ratio."

"Primarily this happens because the total positivity rate is declining whereas the ICU number of patients has still not fully declined. Today, almost 80 per cent of ward beds are empty, nearly 50 per cent oxygenated beds are empty."

He said nearly nearly 80 per cent of the ICU beds in Bengaluru are still occupied as ICU patients will typically take a longer time to recover.

"When the wave recedes, you will see a rise in fatality because denominator changes. This raises the importance of hospital-based mortality vs population-based mortality," the panel member said.

The state's Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Ashwathnarayan, also pointed out that fatalities continuing among those who had been in the ICU for a while were still being added to the data, in the context of a lower total case number.

"Since the positivity rate is reducing and the people who were in the ICU earlier, admitted for more than 15-20 days... in these cases we are seeing more fatalities. That is increasing the case fatality rate," he told NDTV.