The COVID-19 situation continues to remain critical in Madhya Pradesh with the tally of positive cases going up to 2,560 on Wednesday and the pandemic spreading to 31 out of the 52 districts of the state. Another 10 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, taking the toll in the state to 130, the bulletin released by the state health department showed.
The mega hotspot of Indore reported 104 more cases and two more deaths—taking the tally of positives to 1,476 and the death toll to 65.
Other big sources of worry are, however, Ujjain and Bhopal that have reported 23 and 14 deaths respectively. Ujjain which has shown only 127 positive cases so far has a worryingly high death rate of 18.1 per cent—probably the highest for any city in the country. The average death rate in the country is 3.2 per cent, while the average death rate in Madhya Pradesh is 5 per cent. In such a situation, the high rate of death in Ujjain is worrying the authorities.
The divisional commissioner of Ujjain, Anand Kumar Sharma had attributed the high rate of death to delayed presentation of cases, presence of co-morbidity conditions as well as delayed test reports.
Interestingly, since the past three days, the state health department has stopped giving the statistics of samples pending for tests. Sources put the figure of pending samples at over 10,000 across the state. As on April 26, the number of pending samples in state was 8,439 out of 38,708—about 21 per cent of all samples. By this date, tests results of 30,269 samples had been received. In the April 29 bulletin, it was just mentioned that out of test results of 33,837 samples received, 2,560 were positive. This means that over the past three days, reports of just 3,568 samples have been received, of which 470 have turned out to be positive.
Gas tragedy survivors’ vulnerability
Meanwhile, in Bhopal, the claim made by the gas tragedy survivors’ organisation that at least 12 of the 14 deceased of COVID-19 in the capital were victims of the industrial disaster of 184, has made the situation complex.
The survivors’ organisations have come out with documents and details to support their claim that the 12 deceased were gas tragedy victims and had written to various authorities including the union and state health ministers, the Indian Council of Medical Research and others, bringing to their notice the vulnerability of the gas tragedy survivors to the pandemic.
The organisations also analysed the deaths in Bhopal. A joint press statement by four gas tragedy survivors’ organisation said that the analysis clearly shows: all deceased were male, all were gas victims and were taking long-term treatment for their lung, heart and kidney illnesses, and 95 per cent of them were above the age of 55 years. Out of 12 deaths, four died outside the gates of the hospital, seven died within 24 hours of admission and only two got prolonged care, which is a clear indication that lack of prompt care was one of the reasons of their deaths. None of the deceased family members has been given any medical records or COVID-19 positive test reports. All died in government hospitals, which barely has the infrastructure to take care of so many critical cases, the analysis by the organisations said.
“The analysis of deaths and concrete suggestions was provided to officials of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) ICMR, Madhya Pradesh Health Commissioner, District Collector of Bhopal and to many others so that changes could be made accordingly but no attention has been paid, said Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group for Information & Action,” one of the survivors’ organisations.