DailyPost 1711

This would not be the first pandemic we are facing, and might be the second surge is not the last surge of this pandemic. Being ready for the subsequent bouts of COVID-19 and whatever follows subsequently, would be largely dependent on the data available related to the Second Surge. This is logical reasoning given the fact that we have not been able to connect the logical consequences of the spread of the mutant virus, because of limited genome sequencing, hence, much larger scale would be needed next time. Death is the ultimate price which a disease / pandemic takes on anybody and we continue to lead the death figures for quite some time now globally.

The spread and the intensity of the spread of the pandemic needs to be known, more so during the second surge, when it made deep inroads into the countryside. Bereft of any testing capabilities and also an understanding which could only come out of the pandemic related deaths study, are we ready to put the rural countryside to the same fate. The disease has to be understood in its rural avatar. Given the abysmal health infrastructure in the rural areas in most parts of the country and there being hardly any chance of dramatically improve in the next few months, the best bet is on prevention. The audit of the death would also help us to understand its background, the nature of the ailment, its treatment and availability, if any.

Pandemic is itself a killer word and Tsunami being added to it explains the second wave. The systems went haywire. Given the suspicion which has been created regarding the number of deaths, a National Death Audit limited to the second wave deaths can be a way out. The figures would be final and so would be the deaths. Might be as an extension of Right to Information, right to know also seems to be a logical and legal extension. *Variety of calculations are being churned out in the public domain, which creates a scare amongst the masses and also a fear  psychosis as what would they do, if and when the third wave comes.

Though directly unconnected, the visuals have added to the disproportion. Media reporting and some experts suggestive calculations have confounded the data authenticity further. Reconciliation of the data is an old tool which has the capability to set the record straight. This is precisely the National Death Audit.  The death data from different sources needs to be tallied. Some might be unaccounted for everywhere but there would be human accounts of it. A bit of detailed work would for sure give the correct figures or very near to it. Reconciliation of death data happened in the first wave too, in one or two states. Some reconciliation of data happens on  Worldometer coronavirus statistics as well. Whatever may be the case, we should have a fair account of the dead, the cause of death and circumstances leading to it. Aadhar, electoral rolls and the other databases can provide comparison master data.


Sanjay Sahay


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