• Tuesday, Nov 24, 2020
  • Last Update : 12:55 am

Coronavirus: West Bengal has highest death rate, least testing in India

  • Published at 02:44 pm May 4th, 2020
A Hindu priest performs a 'Yagya', a Hindu ritual, for the eradication of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Kolkata, India
A Hindu priest burns a replica of the coronavirus made from plastic as he performs a 'Yagya', a Hindu ritual, for the eradication of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), during a nationwide lockdown to slow the spreading of the disease, at a temple in a slum area in Kolkata, India, April 28, 2020 Reuters

The state-wise assessment shows that Delhi, Maharashtra and Rajasthan are reporting high cases because of high testing. But percentage of cases in West Bengal is high despite low level of testing

West Bengal has the highest death rate from the novel coronavirus disease, Covid-19, along with the least testing in India.

West Bengal carried out about 100 tests per million — the lowest among major states and territories.

The state has conducted 16,525 tests so far. Among those, 5.8% tested positive to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, behind Delhi, Gujarat, and Maharashtra, according to data until April 30 from the health ministry of central government and states.

The state government has confirmed a total of 963 cases, including 812 active cases, 35 deaths, and 151 recoveries, as of Monday.

Though, West Bengal situation is becoming worrisome because of low testing and high coronavirus positive cases, an Indian central government’s empowered groups’ assessment reveals.

The state-wise assessment shows that Delhi, Maharashtra and Rajasthan are reporting high cases because of high testing. But percentage of cases in West Bengal is high despite low level of testing.

This indicates that many more may be infected, the assessment shows. While declining to share exact numbers, officials said that West Bengal’s positive percentage was far higher than the national average of around 4.5%.

Officials also said the state was hiding true figures of positive cases and related deaths.

The pandemic was first confirmed in the state on March 18 in the capital city of Kolkata.

On April 7, the state government has identified 7 hotspots. The names of hotspots are not officially disclosed but some Indian news sites suggested that Kolkata, Howrah, Belgharia, Haldia, Egra, Tehatta and Kalimpong are the 7 hotspots.

West Bengal has a current reproduction number of 1.52, much higher than the national average of 1.29.

Reproduction number refers to the number of persons being infected on an average by an already-infected person. In West Bengal’s case, it means every 100 persons were infecting 152 others, as of now.

Among bigger states, only Jharkhand and Bihar have larger reproduction numbers, according to an analysis by scientists at the Chennai-based Institute of Mathematical Sciences, but these two states had a significantly lesser caseload compared to even West Bengal.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led state government was widely criticized of the handling of the coronavirus pandemic and was accused of concealing facts by the opposition and critics.The opposition accused Mamata of playing “appeasement politics” amid the Covid-19 crisis.

The state government has been also criticized for not sending enough samples to India’s National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) for testing.

The state’s test numbers saw some rise after talks between government and NICED. According to them, this will be scaled up further in coming days.

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