COVID-19 death rate rises alarmingly in Tamil Nadu

Published : June 11, 2020 19:39 IST

Collecting swab sample for COVID-19 test, on Chennai on June 6. Photo: PTI

The first 11 days of June has seen a massive spike in the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the Tamil Nadu. With 23 deaths reported on June 11, the total death count from June 1 stood at an alarming 176. The number of deaths until May 31, from the time the first infection was reported in the State in March, was only 173.

From May 31 to date, the death has remained in double digits—13. It was 11 on June 1, 13 (June 2), 11 (June 3), 12 (June 4), 12 (June 5), 19 (June 6), 18 (June 7), 17 (June 8), 21 (June 9) and 19 (June 10). Officials and spokespersons for the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) have defended the numbers, saying that this is among the least deaths in the country, considering the number of infections in the State.

So far 349 persons have died, as per government records, a figure that has been disputed by a non-governmental organisation Arappor, multiple newspaper reports and the main opposition party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

In March, the State recorded 124 COVID-19 cases. The next month, even as the State kept harping on the “Tablighi cluster” (referring to a Tablighi convention in Delhi), which was later changed to “single source”, as being responsible for the infections, the number rose over 17-fold, and stood at 2,199. In May, this increase continued —despite limited testing—and the month recorded 20,010 infections. The first 11 days of June have pushed the number of infections by around 16,000.

On June 11, as many as 1,875 persons tested positive across the State, taking the total number of infected to 38,716, according to a release from the Health Department. The number of active cases was 17,659.

Chennai, the most affected region in Tamil Nadu, accounted for as many as 1,407 new infections on June 11, taking the total for Chennai to 27,398. Of this, active infections numbered 13,310. The release added that as many as 20,705 persons had been discharged from hospitals across the State.

Compared with the national average, the testing was higher today too—16,829 tests were done today. Public health experts point out that the numbers tested should at least be thrice as much because only then more COVID positive people can be identified and isolated for treatment.

AIADMK spokespersons have been repeatedly saying that the number of people tested in Tamil Nadu is among the highest in the country. But experts asserted that this was not “a race where there is a cup for those who test more”. Said one of them: “The aim should be to test as many people as possible, especially in containment zones, and adopt appropriate plans to contain the infection.”