Srinagar: The Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK) on Saturday said that the actual number of people dying from Covid in Kashmir is higher than what is reported.
In a statement, DAK said official figures of Covid-19 deaths are an underestimate. The reported death toll is an undercount and only provides a snapshot of the true toll virus has taken, he said.
The statement said only those deaths make it to the official count that have been confirmed as Covid-19 through RT-PCR testing.
“But the test can miss more than 30 percent of positive cases. We see many patients who test negative on RT-PCR test, but show CT features consistent with Covid-19 disease, but they are not reported,” the statement said.
It said that while elderly people have the highest rates for hospitalisation and death, many are not tested for Covid in hospitals. “Older people don’t develop typical Covid symptoms. In them, feeling weak or confused may be the only sign of having the infection.”
The statement said that when patients lack classic signs, health professionals are less likely to think of the diagnosis. This means many patients die undiagnosed.
“Many patients with heart or lung disease die of Covid, but their death is attributed to their underlying condition,” the statement said.
It said that many people with Covid symptoms don’t get tested for the virus because of the fear of stigma and quarantine of family members.
“Social stigma makes people hide their illness and keep them away from seeking health care. Accurate data is vitally important for appropriate response which is key to mitigate further disaster.
To deal with the problem, we must understand how bad it is.
Poor quality data equals poor decision which in turn leads to lost opportunity to improve population health in a crisis. Without accurate tallies, response won’t be enough to defeat the outbreak,” the statement concluded.
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