Towards the end of March, leading hospitals in Karachi started receiving an unusually large number of patients in critical conditions. The patients were either dead on arrival or they died within hours of arriving. So far, there have been about 300 deaths in Karachi and some speculate they could be because of the coronavirus. Is the rate of coronavirus deaths in Karachi much higher than officially reported? Let’s find out.
Were the 300 deaths in Karachi due to coronavirus?
In most of these cases, the patients were sick with pneumonia-like symptoms. Health officials told The News that the bodies of only a small number of such patients were sent for an X-ray. Most patients who died on arrival or soon after were not sent for post-mortem. Their bodies were not even examined to determine the cause of death.
Described on their death certificates as most likely causes were pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), chronic liver disease, renal failure, and even multiple organ failure. Most of these patients were in the 45-60 age group.
The symptoms have a stark resemblance to those of coronavirus. That’s why many health experts have expressed fear that at least some of the 300 mysterious deaths in Karachi could have been due to the novel coronavirus.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said Wednesday that even though they have not been confirmed, some of these deaths are due to COVID-19. He told media that at least 15 such dead bodies were buried according to the guidelines for coronavirus deaths. In many other cases, the family members feared that the police would take away the dead body. So, they chose to bury their loved ones quietly. So far, there have been 41 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Sindh.
The other side of the story
Since most of these patients had not been tested for coronavirus, it’s not right to jump to conclusions. We don’t have concrete data to say that most or all of these deaths were due to COVID-19. Some of them maybe.
Karachi is in total lockdown. A large number of people are scared to go out, especially to a hospital. It’s possible that patients are visiting hospitals only after they get extremely sick. By then, it could be too late. The late arrival of patients to hospitals could have contributed to their passing away, said Dr. Seemi Jamali in an interview with ARY News.