As many as 3,951 backlog fatalities were added to Bihar’s coronavirus toll on Wednesday after the Patna High Court last month flagged irregularities and asked the state government to give an account of deaths during the second wave of the pandemic, The Times of India reported.
The state’s cumulative toll has now jumped to 9,429 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The health department had till Tuesday stated the number of deaths to be under 5,500.
Additional Chief Secretary (health) Pratyaya Amrit told reporters that the dramatic rise in toll was due to deaths reported at private hospitals, under home isolation, and of post-Covid complications, according to the Hindustan Times. “These deaths had remained unaccounted earlier,” he added.
Amrit said an assessment of the deaths was carried out in all the districts by constituting a team at medical college and hospitals. He also warned that disciplinary action will be taken against officials who failed to register deaths on time.
With the new figures, the most deaths were reported from state capital Patna, accounting for a total of 2,303 fatalities, according to The Times of India. Muzaffarpur reported 609 deaths, followed by Nalanda (463), Begusarai (454), Purvi Champaran (425), Darbhanga (342) and Madhubani (317).
Patna District Magistrate Chandrashekhar Singh said the figures were verified from different sources, including crematoriums and the city’s municipal corporation.
The recovery rate, which was 98.70% on Tuesday, has now come down to 97.65% following the revision in statistics. Opposition leaders in the state had alleged that the government was fudging data to hide its failure in handling the pandemic.
On May 17, the Patna High Court had flagged differences in deaths in Buxar district of Bihar. The affidavits filed by the state’s chief secretary and Patna divisional commissioner showed different numbers.
A division bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar had said that they won’t hesitate to remove public representatives who fail to discharge their statutory obligations. The bench had asked the state government to verify facts from all sources before placing it in court.