Kerala has seen a steady increase in the number of Covid-19 deaths over the past two weeks, although the number of new infections is falling every day.
By May 4, the southern state had caught the attention of policymakers across the country as it never allowed the daily number of deaths to exceed 50 despite rising infection cases. The death toll was over 50 on May 5, and the number has risen since then, exceeding 100 on May 19. On Sunday, Kerala reported 188 Covid-related deaths. Kerala’s steady progress in managing deaths had put neighbors Karnataka in the spotlight, as both reported more or less the same number of infections with comparable numbers of tests every day.
For example, as of May 1, Kerala had 35,636 new cases and 48 deaths while Karnataka had 40,990 new cases and 271 deaths. While new cases in Kerala are nearly stable, with a slight decrease in a few days, there has been a three-fold increase in deaths in the past three weeks. In Karnataka, however, the death toll was higher. However, Karnataka has more than twice the population of Kerala, and it is precisely for this reason that experts believed the daily test numbers were inadequate. Kerala’s Prime Minister Pinarayi Vijayan attributed his state’s record of low deaths to his government, which vaccinated large numbers of vulnerable people. According to experts, three factors are responsible for the emerging death trend in Kerala. The state’s nodal officer for Covid & H1N1, Amar Fettle, said portions of people who became very sick after contracting the infection during the surge died after being in hospitals for extended periods of time. Kerala has the largest proportion of diabetics in India, which is also one of the largest comorbidities that lead to death, he said. “One of the reasons many people do not recover is diabetes,” he added.