A total of 36.5 lakh deaths registered in 2020 – the first year of the coronavirus pandemic – occurred in the absence of any medical attention, the Civil Registration System data released on Tuesday by the office of the Registrar General showed.

The number accounts for 45%, the highest ever, of the total 81.2 lakh deaths recorded that year. In 2019, 34.5% of the deaths took place in absence of medical services.

Source: Civil Registration System

The data released on Tuesday also showed that the number of registered deaths in India rose by 6.2% from 76.4 lakh in 2019 to 81.2 lakh in 2020 However, the data did not specify how many of the total deaths registered were due to coronavirus.

In 2017 and 2018, the number of persons who had died in medical institutions and those without medical any attention was roughly equal, each accounting for about one-third of all registered deaths, according to The Indian Express.

The 2020 data reflects of the time when non-Covid medical services were suspended or were barely functional due to an increase in cases of Covid-19. Several states at the time had announced reservations of beds up to 80% in government and private hospitals for patients infected by the coronavirus.

An estimated 5,05,800 non-emergency surgeries were delayed across the country during the three-month period before and after the peak of the viral outbreak in 2020. In many places, patients were turned away by private hospitals due to fear of the further spread of infection.