The Health Services Association, West Bengal has spoken out against the manner in which the state administration is collecting the samples for the COVID-19 tests. In a letter shared by Amit Malviya, head of BJP’s IT Cell, the doctors say that the manner in which the samples are being currently collected might lead to false negatives and thereby, result in under-reporting of the actual number of Wuhan Coronavirus cases in the state.
West Bengal Health Services‘ Doctors red flag State Govt’s Covid Sample Collection Methodology, say it violates WHO norms and may result in underreporting of actual Covid numbers.— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) May 7, 2020
The false negative reports may further jeopardise Bengal’s fight against Covid pandemic… Disaster! pic.twitter.com/AavUubT58X
The letter addressed to the Chief Secretary of West Bengal states, “It has come to our notice that in many sample collection set ups the recommended guideline of sampling is not being followed and samples are collected from sites other than nasopharynx. The results obtained thereby maybe of lesser degree of sensitivity and a higher probability of false negativity. This can also lead to inconsistency of the test results in absence of adequate quantity of appropriate sample.” “Consequently, a large number of test outcome may remain false negatives and inconsistent, with wastage of precious test kits,” it adds. The letter also states that the procedure clearly violates the recommendations and guidelines issued by the WHO, CDC, MoHF-ICMR-NIV.
The disastrous handling of the crisis by West Bengal Government
The Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) has slammed the government over the highest mortality rate among any state in the country. On Monday, the Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) in its letter to the State Chief Secretary Rajiv Sinha highlighted the “extremely high mortality rate” of Coronavirus in the State of West Bengal, besides the lack of transparent and consistent reporting of the pandemic. Slamming the State Government, the IMCT leader Apurva Chandra 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. Chandra attributed the weak surveillance of the government and the low testing conducted in the State as the cause behind the high mortality rate.
Discrepancy in Data
IMCT 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. However, it stated the figure of 931 infected patients while briefing the Union Health Ministry on the same day. Further, the letter alleged that the State bulletins of May 1 and May 2 did not mention the total mortality or the number of Coronavirus patients in the State. IMCT highlighted how the State claimed to have surveyed 50 lac people but did not provide any evidence for the same to the team.