Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Home States Karnataka Discrepancies galore in Karnataka’s COVID-19 media bulletins

Discrepancies galore in Karnataka’s COVID-19 media bulletins

Discrepancies have been reported in the media bulletins issued by the Department of Health and Family Welfare. In many instances, death and discharge details have been repeated. In some instances, a patient reported dead in one bulletin has been recorded as discharged in another, and vice-versa. There have been at least four such instances.

The latest instance was on Saturday’s media bulletin. Two patients who were reported dead in the bulletins on Saturday were among those already reported dead in media bulletins issued in June. For instance, patient number 10,402 — an 80-year-old woman who had Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) and who had symptoms such as fatigue, fever and breathlessness — passed away in Bengaluru on June 23. The patient, who was reported dead on Saturday, was also reported among the deaths reported in the June 25 bulletin. There were also discrepancies in the symptoms and co-morbidities reported. While Saturday’s bulletin specified that the patient had co-morbidities such as diabetes mellitus and hypertension, the bulletin on June 25 was silent on such ailments.

There have also been also variations in the age of patients. Patient number 13,611, who had the co-morbidity lung cancer, died on June 28 in Bengaluru. The bulletin on Saturday described her as a patient who had Influenza-like Illness. However, the bulletin issued on June 30, where she was first reported dead, stated that she had SARI. The age of the patient in Saturday’s bulletin was 66, while the bulletin on June 30 put it at 64.

An analysis shows that at least four people have been listed as dead on multiple days, which increases the death toll in the State. Besides the deaths, at least 184 people have been shown to be discharged on multiple days. Many researchers use the media bulletins to conduct in-depth analysis. The State war room also conducts analysis depending on this data.

U.S. Vishal Rao, Associate Dean, Centre of Academics and Research at HealthCare Global (HCG) Cancer Centre, who has used the media bulletins for analysis, said there was a need to ensure reliability of data as several policy decisions would be taken based on it. “This COVID-19 pandemic is a war that needs to be won through a scientific approach, and the department needs to maintain data reliability as minute data will have far-reaching implications,” he said.

Responding to this, Pankaj Kumar Pandey, Health Commissioner, said the authorities were reconciling the figures.

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