At the same time, official data of the health department showed that the situation was pretty much under control. Between March and May, the official death toll during the second wave was just around 4,500. But the registration figures put the number for three months at 12,560, nearly three times what the health department had published.
There were striking disparities in the number of people who died of Covid-19 in Kerala in April and May. When registration figures showed that April and May recorded 1,554 and 10,602 Covid deaths respectively in Kerala; the health department’s figures for the corresponding periods were 687 and 3,507 respectively.
Between April and May the caseload had more than doubled from 4 lakh to 9 lakh. The health department, overwhelmed by the uncontrollable surge, almost lost the count of people who died of Covid-19, which reflects in the difference of 7,095 deaths between the registration figures and health department’s official data.
The severity of fatalities in May, as shown in registration figures, was such that more than 30% of total death registrations in10 districts in May was because of Covid-19. Palakkad accounts for the highest percentage of Covid death registrations in May.
As much as 41% of total death registrations in Palakkad in May were Covid deaths, followed by Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam with 40% Covid death registrations.
In districts like Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam and Idukki, more than 35% of total deaths registrations were Covid deaths.
The pattern of Covid death registrations in local bodies changed drastically in 2021 when compared to 2020, which may have resulted in such huge disparity. In 2020, the difference was minimal — 3,072 deaths were declared officially and 2,347 deaths were registered as Covid fatalities.
In 2021, official declaration was made for 10,163 Covid deaths. However, the local bodies in the state registered 17,237 Covid deaths till June.
The officials say that normally there is a time lag between the date of death and date of registration except in very few local bodies and even on that count, the number of Covid death registrations has outnumbered the official figures in 2021.