The country recorded 363 deaths in the previous 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 10,032, as the death rate doubled in June in comparison to the previous month.
India recorded 4,213 coronavirus deaths in May at an average of 136 deaths per day, while June has seen 4,037 deaths so far, with an average of 270 deaths per day till Tuesday.
India has now climbed to eighth position in terms of global coronavirus deaths. The country is already at the fourth spot in terms of the number of positive cases at 348,097, according to a Johns Hopkins live dashboard.
“As the number of cases rise, deaths will also rise as a proportion of the cases," said K. Srinath Reddy, president, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), a public-private partnership to improve public health.
“If we can control the spread of the disease, especially in the high-intensity urban areas, the rise in death rate can also be expected to slow down. All public health measures need to be implemented vigorously to achieve this. At this stage, citizen participation in control strategies at the local ward and village level is crucial," said Reddy, also a member of the Union government’s National Task Force on Covid-19.
As cases and deaths climb, shortages of beds and health facilities have been reported from several states. The health ministry has asked states and Union territories to proactively engage with the private healthcare providers to facilitate enhanced bed availability and critical care health facilities and to ensure fair and transparent charges for services provided.
The government on Tuesday said some states like Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh have already taken the initiative, negotiating and reaching agreements with the private sector on reasonable rates and arrangements.
Among the worst-hit states, Delhi has the least number of covid-19 beds—9,802. Among the other states, Maharashtra has 17,847 beds, Tamil Nadu 17,500, Gujarat 23,000 and Rajasthan 43,704 covid beds.
“States have also been asked to proactively engage with the private sector health providers and consider pooling in public and private healthcare facilities, as this will help in providing prompt, good quality and reasonable health care to covid-19 patients," the Union health ministry said in a statement.
“The increase in deaths is due to many factors, i.e. how soon is it able for the covid patients to have access to the medical care, that is, in terms of getting a bed and a doctor to look after the patient with proper care because if they fail to provide any of these, then the patient might get affected and will increase the statistics of death rate," said Dr Suresh Sharma, head of Population Research Centre at Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi University.
Sharma argued that India’s healthcare system is very bleak in the absence of sufficient funds, and quite often, funds given to states are either unutilized or underutilized, leading to shortage of beds, ventilators, medical and paramedical staff.
The only thing going right for India is the increasing recovery rate. The government said that in the past 24 hours, 10,215 covid-19 patients were cured.
“A total of 1,80,012 patients, so far, have been cured of the highly infectious disease, taking the recovery rate to 52.47%, which is indicative of the fact that more than half of positive cases have recovered from the disease," the health ministry said, adding 1,53,178 active cases are currently under medical supervision.