Kolkata: The number of people dying in Kolkata between April and September this year is slightly higher than that recorded in the corresponding period last year, but Covid fatalities form a chunk of the toll. Kolkata Municipal Corporation data reveals that there were 1,250 less non-Covid deaths in the city in these six months as compared to the same period in 2019 and health experts believe staying indoors due to the Covid-induced lockdown helped save many lives.
Overall, the city witnessed 31,710 deaths between April and September 2020, of which 1,710 deaths were due to Covid. By comparison, the number of deaths over the same months last year was 31,250.
According to KMC health department officials, several factors led to the decline in number of non-Covid deaths this year. Adviser to the KMC health department, T K Mukherjee, pointed out that staying home during the lockdown not only prevented accidental deaths but also saved lives by reducing ailments and hospital-acquired infections.
“After analysing data of previous years and this year we have reasons to believe that as a result of staying indoors, the mortality rate has reduced. People with minor ailments didn’t dare visit hospitals and were thus saved from hospital-acquired infections,” Mukherhee said.
KMC health department adviser T K Mukherjee added that less air pollution due to non-plying of vehicles also “gave relief to patients suffering from chronic diseases”.
One remarkable achievement for the KMC health department is that it has recorded “zero dengue death” so far this year. Besides, the civic body’s death registration unit has recorded a sharp drop in the number of fatalities due to road accidents during the lockdown months. “The number of deaths due to road accidents has gone down by 60% over the same period last year,” said a senior KMC health department official.
Health experts also believe that better compliance with medical advice and safety precautions have contributed to a fall in the mortality figures. “Covid-induced precautions made more people follow doctors’ advice diligently and stick to medicines and a healthy lifestyle consistently. This has made a huge difference for those suffering from hypertension and diabetes, who often tend to skip drugs,” said RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS) consultant Arindam Biswas. He added that a drop in pollution level also helped many stay healthier. “Those suffering from lung ailments didn’t require hospitalisation,” he said.