The coronavirus crisis in West Bengal seems to be going out of control after as many as 98 deaths were reported from Mamata Banerjee-ruled state. On Tuesday, West Bengal has reported the highest number of deaths of coronavirus patients nationwide, contributing to nearly 55% of total deaths in the country.
According to the government bulletin, West Bengal also reported its highest single-day increase in coronavirus cases thus far, at 296. The number of cases has increased by 31 per cent to 1,259. The state reported a total of 61 deaths due to COVID-19 and 72 due to comorbidity.
New updated data after IMCT visited West Bengal
Reportedly, the official death toll due to coronavirus in West Bengal has been on a rise in the last five days after the state government led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had decided to update its coronavirus mortality numbers. The West Bengal government has also shelved its controversial death audit committee which has drawn severe criticism over manipulating numbers of coronavirus deaths in the state by attributing coronavirus deaths to co-morbidities.
Earlier, the state had reported a total of 33 deaths on account of coronavirus. However, in the five days after that, the Mamata Banerjee-led government has updated the death with an additional 35 deaths.
Interestingly, the coronavirus testing numbers have seen a sudden quantum jump over the last week, ever since the Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) visited the state on April 20, 2020. The new data released by the West Bengal government had revealed that 105 Wuhan coronavirus related deaths have taken place in the state and not 33 that the state’s press statement revealed.
IMCT observes High Mortality Rate
The Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) had expressed concerns over the “extremely high mortality rate” of coronavirus in the State of West Bengal, besides highlighting the lack of transparent and consistent reporting of the pandemic.
Slamming the State Government, the IMCT chief Apurva Chandra had stated that 105 people have lost their lives to the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic out of 816 reported cases in West Bengal. As such, the Mamata Banerjee-led-State accounts for the highest mortality rate (12.8%) in the country.
Highlighting the lack of transparency and vicious attempts to downplay the outbreak of the Chinese virus in West Bengal, IMCT emphasised on the need for consistent reporting and daily surveillance of patients in hotspots.
IMCT had also pointed out the discrepancy in data released by the State Government about the status of the pandemic in the State. At one time, the West Bengal Government put the number of infected patients at 744.
West Bengal sitting on a “time-bomb”: Health experts
The allegations of suppression of facts and fudging of data has become a major worry for authorities and health experts in West Bengal, which has now snowballed into a huge controversy between the Trinamool Congress-led West Bengal government and health-care experts.
The health-care experts believe that the situation in Bengal is very grave as the Mamata Banerjee-led government has not been giving real data to assess the actual seriousness of the pandemic. From threats to doctors for whistleblowing against the state government against lack of facilities to allegations of state government illegally disposing of dead bodies, there have been serious allegations against the Mamata Banerjee government in Bengal.