COVID-19: In Bihar, less people are getting infected, but more are dying

By: |
November 9, 2020 6:15 AM

An analysis of the ratio of recent deaths to daily infections shows that there has been a nearly three times increase in the proportion of deaths to cases.

In terms of case fatality ratios too, there has been a slight increase from 4.9 deaths per thousand to 5.1 deaths in the last one month.

Despite infections slowing down across Bihar, deaths have been steadily increasing. But even these fatality numbers are surprisingly low when compared to adjoining states. In neighbouring UP, the case fatality ratio — total death to total infection — has been 14.5 deaths per 1,000, whereas for Jharkhand, the ratio is 8.6 deaths; in Bengal too the deaths per thousand average 18. But Bihar, which has a similar level of infrastructure, shows a much lower rate of 5.1 deaths.

On Sunday, India reported 45,674 infections and 559 deaths. While deaths and infections have both been trending down in the country, Bihar seems to be following a different trajectory.

An analysis of the ratio of recent deaths to daily infections shows that there has been a nearly three times increase in the proportion of deaths to cases. While Bihar was recording two deaths per thousand people at the start of October, this ratio has now increased to 7.3 deaths per thousand.

In terms of case fatality ratios too, there has been a slight increase from 4.9 deaths per thousand to 5.1 deaths in the last one month.

In terms of actuals, Bihar reported 46 deaths in the week ending November 8, while this figure was lower than the 48 deaths reported a week ago, it was still higher than the 25 deaths per week it reported by the end of September and at the start of October.

Meanwhile, in terms of cases, the number of infections has been declining since September. As Bihar was stepping into campaigning phase the state was recording 1,400 infections daily, now as elections have come to an end, daily cases have come down to 693.

A big reason for this may be the state’s testing strategy. While one would expect the state to ramp up testing given the massive rallies and little adherence to social distancing, Bihar dialled down on testing figures. While it had ramped up its testing capacity to 1.7 lakh tests daily by the end of September, this declined to below 1 lakh in the middle of October. There has been an increase since to 1.3 lakh, but the state needs to be testing more.

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