Over a half-dozen districts report zero deaths consistently for a week

This has brought down average CFR in Karnataka from 2.58% on June 8 to 1.76% on June 15

With a drop in new COVID-19 cases, the State’s Case Fatality Rate (CFR) too has been declining. For the last one week, the State has been consistently reporting zero deaths in six-seven districts bringing down the average CFR from 2.58% on June 8 to 1.76% on June 15.

CFR that was highest in Bengaluru Urban last week at 7.30% has reduced to 1.88% on June 15.

Haveri, which had the second highest CFR last week at 5.74% now has the highest mortality rate at 8.23%. CFR is higher than the State average in 16 districts, including Bengaluru Urban, Mysuru, Dharwad, Kalaburagi, and Ballari.

As of June 15, the average CFR was less than 1% in 11 districts, with the lowest in Mandya and Chitradurga at 0.49% and 0.72% respectively. Till June 5, although there was a significant decline in new cases, the number of deaths remained intriguingly high.

Data, however, showed that many deaths that occurred as early as in March and April, May were being accounted in the State media bulletins leading to the high number.

Health Commissioner K.V. Trilok Chandra had admitted that most of the deaths being accounted till June 5 were from the backlog since March onwards.

Giridhar R. Babu, member of the State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) who heads Lifecourse Epidemiology at the Public Health Foundation of India in Bengaluru, said the current low CFR may not be the actual rate going by the fact that deaths that occurred since March onwards were being reported in June.

“We cannot say anything about the drop in CFR right now. We have to wait for reconciliation of deaths and unless the State’s death audit is completed this can be an artificial CFR,” he said.

However, C.N. Manjunath, nodal officer for labs and testing in the State’s COVID-19 task force said, this is the usual pattern of the growth and fall of CFR that was noticed during the first wave last year too.

“In the initial weeks after the surge starts, the CFR will be low. It will go high in the middle of the surge and fall down again two weeks after the curve starts flattening,” he said.

“What is important now is to sustain the low CFR and people should not become complacent. Early reporting will help in early intervention thereby preventing complications,” he said.

V. Ravi, nodal officer for genomic confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 in Karnataka, who is part of the State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), said the declining CFR is a good sign and indicated that the peak is over.

“We should continue aggressive testing, promote COVID appropriate behaviour and focus on graded unlock to sustain the low CFR and test positivity rate.We failed on this front after the first wave subsided. We should not repeat the same mistakes again,” he added.

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