Pushed by 2nd Covid wave, Kerala all-cause deaths set for record high this year

The lockdown impact on deaths was evident in Kerala in the months of March and April of 2020, when the state reported only 16,176 and 13,338 deaths.

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The devastating second wave of Covid-19, Kerala’s all-cause death rates are likely to touch a record high, with 2021 already recording the highest number of January-June deaths in recent years.

In the first six months of the year, Kerala registered 1,55,520 all-cause deaths — a 35 percentage jump from the corresponding period in 2020 (1,15,081 deaths), a year of Covid-imposed lockdown, and a 21 percentage jump from the toll in the first six months of the pre-pandemic year of 2019 (1,28,667 deaths).

All-cause mortality is the total number of deaths, including official Covid deaths.

June 2021 was the worst in terms of mortality in recent years, with the state reporting 32,501 all-cause deaths — a 57 per cent jump over the 20,640 all-cause deaths reported in June 2020 and 20,642 deaths recorded in June 2019.

In May this year, the state registered 28,684 deaths — a 33.4 per cent jump over May 2020 (21,488 deaths) and a 24.8 per cent jump over the 22,984 deaths recorded in May 2019.

In these two months, Kerala also reported the highest daily Covid-19 deaths, around 150-200 deaths a day. From May 1 to July 1, the state recorded 7,927 deaths – this does not include the numbers added after the health department’s Covid-19 death reconciliation exercise revised the list after hearing appeals of those whose names were not included in the original list of victims.

The lockdown impact on deaths was evident in Kerala in the months of March and April of 2020, when the state reported only 16,176 and 13,338 deaths, respectively. However, in the corresponding months of this year, the figures rose to 24,632 and 21,231 respectively.

Data showed that all-cause mortality in Kerala in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, had come down to 2,53,638 from 2,70,567 in 2019. However, the first nine months of this year, up to September 30, have already seen the registered death figure going up to 2,12,712.

The all-cause death data since 2009 show that the annual figure has been steadily above 2.50 lakh since 2015, a trend that experts attribute to the state’s fast ageing population.

Kerala’s crude death rate (the number of deaths per 1,000 population), which was 6.74 in 2009, had reached 7.77 in 2019.

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