News

‘Discrepancies’ in Covid-19 death stats 

  • Daily report contains stats of deaths over a period 

  • Delay due to extensive procedure in verifying related details 

  • NOCPCO expert comm. discusses prevention of delay 

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

 

Discrepancies in reporting Covid-19-related deaths have been revealed, as the statistics pertaining to deaths issued by the Health Ministry’s Epidemiology Unit were not of the deaths that have been recorded the previous day but were pertaining to a number of deaths during a specific period, The Sunday Morning learnt. 

As per the Epidemiology Unit statistics issued on Friday (11), a total of 101 deaths have been reported as the highest recorded number of deaths reported in a single day in Sri Lanka. However, the breakdown of the statistics revealed that those deaths have been recorded during the months of February (one), April (one), May (11), and June (88). The deaths that have been recorded in June were also reported from 1 to 9 June, while between 6 June to 7 June, there had been 27 deaths on each day, as recorded by the unit. 

Explaining the reason for the Covid-19 deaths that have occurred several weeks ago being accumulated to a single day’s tally, the Public Health Services Deputy Director General Dr. Hemantha Herath told The Sunday Morning that the delay was due to the time period that it takes to confirm some of the deaths, as prior to releasing data on the deaths, there are compulsory guidelines to be followed, which have been issued by the Health Services Director General. 

He however stressed that the delay in reporting the deaths was not because of the inefficiency of the health officials but due to the specific procedure that they should follow before issuing the statistics. 

Meanwhile, the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of the Covid-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) expert committee is looking into the possibility of avoiding the delays in reporting deaths due to Covid-19. 

It is learnt that the committee has also discussed the nature of the information being received with regard to a day’s death toll since those reports contain more or less accumulated numbers of deaths covering sometimes very old dates, which in turn presents a slightly skewed picture to the public.