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Jubilee Hills and Falaknuma also reported more excess deaths compared to 2019, according to the RTI response from MeeSeva.

Patients lie in a ward, as healthcare workers attend to a male patient, as a nurse looks at the IV lineImage for representation/PTI
Coronavirus Coronavirus Wednesday, August 04, 2021 - 14:46

Jubilee Hills and Falaknuma in Hyderabad have reported the highest all-cause deaths during the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021 (till July) — 17,105 and 15,193 respectively. Jubilee Hills and Falaknuma circles registered the highest deaths among 19 out 30 circles under the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), as per the data from citizen service portal MeeSeva, accessed by anti-corruption activist Vijay Gopal via an RTI application. The data from MeeSeva, which included only 19 GHMC circles, also indicated excess all-cause deaths for 2021 (till July) and 2020. Excess deaths refer to the number of deaths during a health crisis (like a pandemic) that is more than what would have been reported in normal circumstances.  

Jubilee Hills circle, which falls under the Khairathabad ward of GHMC, registered 5,352 all-cause deaths in 2019. Since a monthly breakup of the deaths in 2019 was not available, assuming a uniform distribution of deaths over 12 months, there would have been an estimated 3,122 deaths between January and July 2019. There were 8,035 deaths all-cause deaths recorded between January and July 26, 2021. Comparing this with all-cause deaths recorded between January and July 2019, there are excess deaths of about 4,913 for the same period in 2021. Similarly, 9,070 deaths were registered in Jubilee Hills in 2020, showing excess all-cause deaths of 3,718 compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019. 

In Falaknuma circle of Charminar ward under GHMC, MeeSeva portal issued 4,147 death certificates in 2019. Per the RTI, 6,300 deaths due to any cause were registered between January 1 and July 26, 2021. This means excess deaths of about 3,881 compared to the deaths registered during the same period in 2019. In the year 2020, Falaknuma registered over double the all-cause deaths reported in 2019 — 8,893. This suggests an excess death of 4,746, which is 2.14 times the deaths in 2019.  

It must be noted that neither the Telangana government nor GHMC publishes the cumulative COVID-19 deaths for districts. So, deducting or estimating COVID-19 deaths from the total death certificate registrations would not be possible. Activist Vijay, who is the president of Forum Against Corruption, sent a second RTI application to know how many deaths registered on the MeeSeva portal had COVID-19 mentioned as the cause of death. However, the RTI response from the MeeSeva office said that the cause of death and age-wise information are not available. 

According to monthly data submitted by MeeSeva, during the pandemic months from April 2020 to June 2021, Jubilee Hills issued 13,808 death certificates, while Falaknuma issued 12,341 death certificates. Incidentally, both the circles issued more than 1,000 death certificates during the peak of the first wave and second wave of COVID-19. In July 2020, Jubilee Hills and Falakunuma circles registered 1,304 and 1,308 deaths respectively compared to the 19 GHMC circles, per the RTI. LB Nagar circle also registered 1,1170 deaths in July 2020. Similarly, high deaths were recorded in August 2020 and April 2021. In May 2021, Jubilee Hills registered 2,194 all-cause deaths, while Falaknuma recorded 1,733 deaths. 

After Jubilee Hills and Falaknuma, LB Nagar and Hayathnagar have also registered a high number of all-cause deaths among the 19 circles, per the RTI. Between April 2020 and June 2021, LB Nagar and Hayathnagar registered 6,495 and 5,245 deaths respectively. In terms of excess deaths compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019, Hayathnagar reported 77.89% more deaths in 2020 and it was about 176.88% between January and July 2021. In LB Nagar, 2,743 more deaths were registered in 2020, and no excess deaths have been reported between January and July 2021. 

“The data is of grave concern,” said Vijay Gopal on Twitter, alleging that the state government is covering up the COVID-19 deaths and underplaying the enormity of COVID-19. It is pertinent to note that understanding the excess deaths helps scientific communities understand the evolving characteristics of the virus and recommend policies to face the pandemic in the immediate future or in future, including strengthening the hospital facilities and health workers, improving oxygen and vaccine production, among others. 

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