Srinagar,July 15: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday said the actual number of Covid-19 deaths in Kashmir valley is higher than what is reported.
“Many Covid-19 deaths go unreported in Kashmir,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr. Nisar ul Hassan.
“The official count of Covid-19 deaths in the valley is an underestimate and only provides a snapshot of the true death toll virus has taken,” he said.
Dr. Nisar said many people with COVID symptoms don’t get tested for the virus because of the fear of stigma and quarantine of family members.
“Social stigma makes people hide their illness and keep them away from seeking health care,” he said.
Dr. Nisar said people fear that if they die of Covid-19, they will not get a decent burial and few will come to their funeral.
“As a result, people are choosing to die at home, unrecorded,” he said.
“Another apparent deterrent to testing is widespread conspiracy theories about the virus. People believe that COVID is a hoax and the virus is fabricated,” he added.
Dr. Nisar said while elderly people have the highest rates for hospitalization and death, many are not tested for COVID in hospitals.
“Older people don’t develop typical COVID symptoms. In them, feeling weak or confused may be the only sign of having the infection,” he said.
“When patients lack classic signs, health professionals are less likely to think of the diagnosis. This means many patients die undiagnosed,” he added.
Dr. Nisar said many COVID deaths are hidden among other diseases.
“Many patients with heart or lung disease die of COVID, but their death is attributed to their underlying condition,” he said.
Dr. Nisar said more than 30 percent of the positive cases may be missed by the RT-PCR test which is used to identify people infected with COVID infection.
“Inappropriate sample collection, taking the sample too early or too late during infection and late processing of the sample can give rise to false-negative results,” he said.