COVID-19 impact: Kerala's all-cause deaths to hit record high
Kerala's all-cause mortality figures are expected to reach new highs this year due to the second wave of COVID-19. The number of deaths from January to June in 2021 was reportedly the highest in recent years. May and June this year notably saw a significant increase in registered deaths. All-cause mortalities include the overall number of deaths, including deaths due to COVID-19.
Why does it matter?
- The alarming spike in all-cause deaths highlights the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has overwhelmed the healthcare institution.
- During India's second wave of COVID-19 (April 1-May 30, 2021), even non-COVID-19 deaths in Kerala remained 123% higher than all-cause deaths recorded in April-May 2019.
- Notably, Kerala's all-cause deaths have remained over 2.5 lakh since 2009 due to the state's aging population.
Kerala recorded most deaths in June
Kerala had 1,55,520 all-cause fatalities in the first six months of the year, up 35% from the same time in 2020 (1,15,081 deaths). It increased by 21% compared to the first six months of the pre-pandemic year of 2019 (1,28,667 deaths). June 2021 recorded 32,501 all-cause deaths, up 57% from the 20,640 reported in June 2020 and 20,642 deaths reported in June 2019.
Nearly 8K COVID-19 deaths in May-June
Kerala also had the most daily COVID-19 deaths, roughly 150-200 per day, in May and June. From May 1 to July 1, the state recorded 7,927 COVID-19 deaths. This does not include the numbers added following the reconciliation of COVID-19 fatality data. The data was reconciled after hearing pleas to include the names of victims who were previously excluded.
Undercount of COVID-19 deaths across India
An investigation by The Indian Express had earlier established that the official COVID-19 deaths in the country were undercounted. Eight of the state governments approached by TIE, including Kerala, gave records of fatalities reported under the Civil Registration System. Kerala has reported 41,831-19 COVID deaths since the outbreak began, with another 12,161 added through appeals.
What did the data reveal for all-cause mortality in Kerala
All-cause mortality in Kerala in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, fell to 2,53,638 from 2,70,567 the previous year, official data showed. However, this year, deaths recorded till September 30 have already climbed to 2,12,712. Notably, only 65% of fatalities in Kerala are reported within the required 21-day period, according to the statistics department.
Crude death rate in Kerala
Kerala's crude death rate (the number of deaths per 1,000 people) increased to 7.77 in 2019 from 6.74 in 2009. In 2019, there were 755 crude deaths per 1,00,000 population, compared to the entire United States which had 871.