Newe Delhi: Amid the Covid-19 crisis, the healthcare sector across the country has registered a low footfall of patients rushing for emergency facilities and fewer “all-cause death” cases. “All-cause deaths” include deaths from road accidents, coronary heart disease, lung disease, stroke, influenza, pneumonia, tuberculosis and other causes.

Though government data about the decline of total footfall in the healthcare sector is not available, a survey conducted by a private organisation has indicated a sharp dip in patients rushing to hospitals for emergency and OPD services. The Nathealth, a private organization, has found in its survey that there has been an 80% fall in demand for healthcare facilities in India.

According to the Nathealth, it conducted a detailed survey to understand the overall situation of the healthcare sector amid the coronavirus crisis, and the study revealed that ever since the lockdown began on 24 March this year, Indian hospitals have witnessed a lower footfall.  Hospitals in tier-1 and tier-2 cities are experiencing a 78% reduction in OPD footfalls, and a drop of 79% in in-patient admissions.

Not only is the healthcare sector witnessing a lower footfall, but data from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and accounts of crematorium heads and doctors suggest that this year, the country has registered fewer  all-cause deaths than the previous year. For example, currently, Maharashtra is facing the most vulnerable situation and the state has registered most of India’s Covid-19 deaths, but despite the scary situation, Maharashtra has registered 58% dip in all-cause deaths this year. Similarly, Ahmadabad, Delhi, Pune, Kolkata, Kanpur and Bangaluru, besides many other tier-1 and tier-2 cities, have registered lesser number of all-cause deaths. Amit Baweja, a cardiologist who works with many reputed private hospitals including Manipal Hospital, has attributed Covid-19 as a reason for fewer numbers of all-cause deaths and low footfall of patients in hospitals. According to Baweja, accident contributes big numbers in all-cause deaths in India, but this year due to the lockdown clamped to prevent Covid-19, the same has witnessed a sharp decline.  “Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) annually kills around 1,556,746 people in India, but an unusual trend is visible amid the Covid-19 crisis and that is only a few very serious cases of CHD patients rushing to hospitals for their treatment and the reasons behind this trend are manifold. In my view, the primary reason behind fewer CHD cases is the lockdown and the subsequent campaign to save elders from contracting Covid-19; reduced work stress, less travel exertion, lack of availability of outside food are some of the major reasons behind the lesser number of all-cause deaths in the country,” Baweja told The Sunday Guardian.