In 2020, Covid 2nd major killer in seven states: Registrar General of India’s certified death data

The Covid-19 disease claimed 1,60,618 deaths in 2020 and accounted for 8.9 per cent of the total 18.11 lakh medically certified deaths in the country, according to the Report on Medical Certification of Cause of Death-2020 released by the Office of the Registrar General of India (RGI) on Wednesday.

While Covid-19 was the fourth biggest cause of medically certified deaths nationally in 2020, it was the second biggest in seven states — Maharashtra (17.7 per cent), Manipur (15.7 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (15 per cent), Himachal Pradesh (13.5 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (12 per cent), Punjab (11.9 per cent) and Jharkhand (7.6 per cent).

The report’s medically certified Covid death figure of 1,60,618 in 2020 is higher than the officially declared Union Health Ministry’s Covid death count of 1,48,994 in 2020. Since the beginning of the pandemic till May 25, 2022, India registered 5,24,507 Covid deaths, as per the Union Health Ministry data.

For purposes of the Report on Medical Certification of Cause of Death-2020, a separate group Covid-19 was added for data collection after the pandemic broke out in 2020. In the report, Covid deaths have been reported under two sub-heads: one in which the code ‘virus identified’ is assigned to a “disease diagnosis of COVID 19 confirmed by laboratory testing”; and the second in which the code ‘virus not identified’ is assigned to “a clinical or epidemiological diagnosis of COVID 19 where laboratory confirmation is inconclusive or not available.”

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Of the 1,60,618 Covid deaths, the virus was identified in 1,38,713 deaths, while it was not verified in 21,905 cases.

In 2020, the most Covid deaths in absolute numbers were reported in Maharashtra (61,212) followed by Uttar Pradesh (16,489), Karnataka (15,476), Andhra Pradesh (12,193) and Delhi (8,744). Only one state—Arunachal Pradesh–and one Union Territory–Lakshadweep–did not report any medically certified Covid death during 2020, it shows.

According to the report, ‘disease of the circulatory system’ was the single biggest cause of death nationally accounting for 32.1 per cent of all medically certified deaths.

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