Editorial

‘Covid Fatalities’: the semantics

Summary

Is it not time to tally separately the numbers dying of Covid, among those dying with Covid?

Sri Lanka’s 15th Covid fatality was reported recently – a person who had been admitted to hospital for a heart attack. Another in-patient at the same hospital had coincidentally been found ‘PCR positive’. The person with the heart attack was discovered to have caught the bug, when the hospital later conducted tests to see who had been infected. The guy died in intensive care.

Details shown on mass media were not enough to work out whether he had died of his heart condition or of the later Covid thing. The body was disposed of according to the health ministry guidelines. Such disposals automatically trigger an addition to the ‘Covid deaths’ tally. So we have 15 now.

There is much debate about counting anyone who dies while carrying fragments of the virus as a ‘Covid death’. People dying while ‘PCR positive’ are all counted as dying of Covid. But some of them are dying of other causes, while positive on the test. These are deaths of people with Covid. The two are not identical sets.

A Covid diagnosed person escaped recently from hospital and went back home. Had he died of a road accident on the way, his death too may have been counted a ‘Covid death’, for the funeral would have been conducted as for ‘Covid patients’. His death would have been eligible to be listed as our 16th Covid fatality.

Is it not time to tally separately the numbers dying of Covid, among those dying with Covid?

We can see in many countries, including ours, several other Covid categories too. Chief among these is the group dying for Covid: at least a little more of it, please. Please.

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