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Did Kerala govt hurriedly pass anti-media law anticipating criticism over underreporting of COVID-19 deaths? Read details

Another senior government official admitted that he estimated that the state had under-reported deaths by at least 30 per cent.

A group of volunteers in Kerala has made a sensational claim accusing Kerala government of fudging their COVID data to show a lesser number of coronavirus deaths in the state. The group recorded every Covid-19 related in the state as per media reports, and found that it is much more than the number of deaths reported by the state govt.

According to a BBC report on the findings of the study, the group of researchers have compiled a list containing names of all the people who succumbed to the Chinese pandemic. These group of researches have put months of painstaking research to record data of these deceased persons, picking up from local papers and news networks to report almost all deaths that occurred in the state due to the pandemic.

A team led by Dr Arun N Madhavan, a general medicine physician, checked the district editions of seven local newspapers and followed five news channels unfailingly every day. These team meticulously recorded every death reported in the news and obituary notices to diligently enter the details into a spreadsheet.

The team has tabulated the entire data into a Google Sheets spreadsheet, that contains names, address of every person from Kerala who died due to the Chinese pandemic, the date of their death, along with multiple sources of the records.

As of now, the volunteers had counted 3543 COVID-19 deaths from Kerala. However, the official death toll from the disease is 2,023 till Sunday. If one goes by the data of recorded deaths by Madhavan and his team, there has been a whopping 43 per cent of underreporting of COVID deaths in Kerala. The sheet also contains 12 deaths with only one source, hence not considered as confirmed until they are reported by a second source.

“We are missing a lot of Covid-19 deaths here,” Dr Madhavan told BBC. According to Madhavan, the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Communist government has recognised a little more than half of the deaths caused by COVID and attributed the rest to underlying conditions or co-morbidities.

Here is a district-wise reporting of COVID-19 deaths put out by the team of researchers that exposes underreporting of deaths by the Kerala government:

High exclusion of deaths in the official data, says researchers

The increasing gap between the official numbers claimed by the government to the actual number of the people who are deceased to the pandemic, as reported by Madhavan and team, comes at a time when the ‘liberal-secular’ media have hailed the so-called Kerala model of handling coronavirus despite the fact that Kerala has been one of the worst affected states in the country.

The main accusation against Kerala, which has claimed data transparency, is that it has been undercounting deaths. Dr Madhavan believes under-reporting of coronavirus deaths in Kerala is rampant.

He says, “Patients who tested negative “just before they died” and did not belong to Kerala were not counted. Three patients – all men, aged between 65 and 78 – came to his clinic with symptoms and died in hospital in October during treatment.”

“Their deaths didn’t come up in the media or the official count. All of us are missing deaths, but the government is missing them the most,” he said.

Bureaucrats admit Kerala fudged numbers by underreporting COVID-19 deaths

Even, Rajeev Sadanandan, a top health bureaucrat who is advising the government on handling the pandemic, admitted to underreporting of numbers saying that there has been “some” under-reporting of deaths in Kerala. Sadanandan added that they did not count cases who were suffering from terminal or renal diseases and were found to be infected with COVID-19.

Sadanandan claimed that Kerala had always prided itself on its transparency of data and it was this that helped the state fight an outbreak of the vicious Nipah virus in 2018. “We have not consciously hidden data. Some districts might not have reported deaths fearing adverse reactions. It is difficult to hide data in a society which insists on total transparency,” the bureaucrat disclosed.

Oommen C Kurian, a researcher in Observer Research Foundation, also believed that the undercounting of deaths in Kerala has been “conscious and systematic, and not because of systemic weakness”. Kurian added that despite all the robust surveillance capacity and a government panel to advise on the matter, “no major reconciliation of deaths has happened yet”.

“The authorities seem to be convinced that by whatever means the state should keep its reputation as a Covid-19 success story,” Kurian said.

Another senior government official also admitted that he estimated that the state had under-reported deaths by at least 30 per cent. Speaking to BBC, he added that even if the official toll was doubled to factor in uncounted deaths, the number would remain well below that reported by most other states.

With such a massive expose by a team of Kerala researchers, the whole fake narrative of ‘successful Kerala model’, that was carefully backed up by the global PR and international awards is out in the open.

Interestingly, the intellectual cheerleaders, who were all along bragging about the sham called ‘Kerala model’ by deliberately hiding the reality of Kerala’s terrible management of coronavirus have now gone silent. The Kerala government, being ditched by its ‘left-liberal’ cheerleaders, seems to be now prepping up for an attack on media and its critics in apprehension that they could now expose its massive coverup.

Did Kerala govt pass anti-media ordinance in anticipation of media expose?

Just yesterday, the Kerala government had hurriedly passed an ordinance that gives arbitrary powers to police to arrest people for expressing their opinion not just on social media but also on mainstream media. According to the new law, the law enforcement authorities can arrest anyone and prosecute them in the name of fighting the increasing incidents of crimes perpetrated through social media.

It is rather intriguing to know whether Kerala government, which is accused of manipulating the coronavirus deaths in the state, was anticipating such an expose and prepared itself with such a draconian law. The Communist Kerala government, perhaps being aware of the BBC report that exposed that their coronavirus data scam, hurriedly came with the idea of promulgating the ordinance.

The Section 118-A of the Kerala Police Act, that was passed in the form of an ordinance by the Kerala government, gives unbridled powers for the law enforcement agencies to curtail the freedom of the press and arrest anybody on the charges of exploiting social media to target individuals, especially women and children.

By pre-empting that a political controversy would erupt, the Kerala government armed themselves with such draconian powers so that they could punish not only the opposition parties but also certain media groups, social media users for exposing their COVID death scam.

Interestingly, the Kerala Government in its official gazette has mentioned that it was satisfied that the circumstances exist currently which render it necessary for them to take immediate action to pass such an ordinance. In fact, it is not yet clear what sort of ‘exigency situation’ had arrived for the Kerala government that prompted them to promulgate an ordinance in just a matter of hours.

Amidst all the serious allegations and severe criticism against the Kerala government, the Pinarayi Vijayan-led administration has chosen to stay silent and are yet to comment on the allegations of massive underreporting of reporting COVID deaths made against them.

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