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Confusion over Delhi's COVID-19 toll as govt data, figures from hospitals don't match


New Delhi, May 09: Confusion prevailed over the number of deaths due to coronavirus in the national capital, with data from four hospitals showing that 92 people succumbed to the infection as against 68 fatalities reported by the Delhi government.

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The toll of 68 shared by the Delhi government in its health bulletin on Friday is based on data collected from 10 hospitals, including AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital, Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital and Lady Hardinge Medical College.

According to the bulletin, AIIMS (Delhi and Jhajjar) reported two deaths, Safdarjung Hospital reported four, RML 26 and Lady Hardinge Medical College had none till Friday. However, officials from these hospitals said the number of people who died due to coronavirus in the national capital till Friday is higher than that reflected in the Delhi government's bulletin.

AIIMS (Delhi Trauma Centre and Jhajjar) has recorded a total of 14 deaths, an official said. According to All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Medical Superintendent Dr D K Sharma, the discrepancy could be because the government is only counting the fatalities from the Trauma Centre, which has been converted into a dedicated COVID-19 hospital, and has not taken into account data from the Jhajjar facility. At Safdarjung Hospital, 23 people have died due to COVID-19.

"They (government) are calling us for the data. We have told them we are regularly sending you the correct, updated figures. We don't see any reason why wrong figures are being reflected," said a senior doctor at Safdarjung Hospital who did not want to be named.

RML Hospital has reported 52 deaths of COVID-19 patients. "We are providing them (government) data regularly and correctly. It is up to them to incorporate it in their chart. We do not understand why they are showing incorrect figures," RML Medical Superintendent Minakshi Bhardwaj said.

Lady Hardinge Medical College Director Dr N N Mathur said the hospital has given the government a figure of three deaths. After the discrepancies between the COVID-19 death toll reported by the government and figures from hospitals came to light on Friday, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain asserted that the government is not hiding data.

"If we had to hide data, we wouldn't have released Thursday's number of fresh COVID-19 cases which was the highest single-day spike of 448 cases. We would have said there were only 48 new cases, but we did not. Once the reports come, the hospitals have to inform the government immediately," he had told reporters.

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