Amid the continuous rise in the coronavirus confirmed cases in the country, the exact number of COVID-19 deaths in West Bengal is becoming nothing short of a mystery. The state government on Friday maintained that the death count was still five, on the contrary, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation came out with a list claiming that it had arranged the last rites of 10 persons who perished due to the deadly disease in and around the city.
Soon after the KMC published the list, Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha appeared before the media and claimed the toll still stood at five. Sinha said the state now had 89 active COVID-19 patients. He said the KMC has neither the right to publish such information nor the power to issue a death certificate to a person who dies after testing positive for coronavirus.
Ironically, the KMC board is also run by the state's ruling Trinamool Congress, with city Mayor Firhad Hakim being one of the most influential ministers in the government.
However, according to the Central government data, the total number of persons afflicted with the disease since its onset in the state is 116, of whom 16 have recovered, and five perished. Last week also, there was confusion over the number of deaths in the state due to the viral infection.
Expert committee member and eminent pulmonologist Dhiman Ganguly, in a media conference, had given the toll as seven, which included four people who passed away in the previous 24 hours. About three hours later, Sinha held another round of video conference with journalists, where he claimed the number of deaths was three and said the other four deceased had comorbidity.
As per reports, he also came up with some statistical jugglery to project a lower figure, for the viral infection in the State, by highlighting the number of active cases at present, rather than the total number of persons testing positive.
However, the KMC data gave fresh ammunition to the opposition, as Union Minister and BJP leader Babul Supriyo in a video message displayed the KMC list and yet again accused the Trinamool administration of suppressing facts including the death count related to COVID-19.
Truth of @MamataOfficial ji’s regime in WB👇Every1 is complaining•Nurses, Doctors spilling beans on condition of Anonymity•And, if there is so much smoke, Didi must b playing wid Fire @AmitShah @PMOIndia @JPNadda @BJP4India #Covid_19 pic.twitter.com/yn7XKhmlJx— Babul Supriyo (@SuPriyoBabul) April 7, 2020
(With agencies input)