The federal government said yesterday that investigation and verbal autopsy have revealed that between 50 and 60 per cent of the 979 people that died in Kano within five weeks were killed by COVID-19.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said this in Abuja at the 41st joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
He said investigation carried out by the special team sent to the state revealed that 50 to 60 per cent of the deaths were associated with coronavirus, adding that most of the fatalities were over 65 years of age.
This meant that no fewer than 587 people died of COVID-19 in Kano and therefore more than the 354 deaths recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) based on the Monday’s record of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
NCDC was yet to reflect the 587 deaths in its official statistics, which showed that 48 people died of the disease in Kano as of June 8.
The health minister commended members of the team sent to Kano led by Dr. Gwarzo and Prof. Nasidi, including the contingent from Irrua for diligently carrying out the assignment.
Daily Trust recalled that there was an outrage over the high number of deaths, with notable individuals dying in Kano, Jigawa and some other states.
Authorities in some of the states had lived in denial for weeks prompting the federal government to send experts to unravel the mystery.
Explaining how the FG arrived at the figures in Kano, he said,
“With regards to the unexplained deaths, which occurred in Kano over a five-week period, the team confirmed that a total of 979 deaths were actually recorded in eight municipal local government areas in the state and at a time at the rate of 43 deaths per day as measured by counting activities at the graveyard.
“The peak was in the second week of April and by the end of April, the numbers had started to reduce and have finally now settled at 11 deaths per day, which were about what it was before”.
The minister said that the verbal autopsy (interviews with relations of the deceased) revealed that about 56 per cent of the deaths occurred at home while 38 per cent were in the hospital.
“The investigation suggests that 50 percent to 60 percent of the deaths may have been triggered by or due to COVID-19.”
He expressed gratitude to Governor Umar Ganduje for his support to the team throughout the assignment saying they all returned safely and had no incident of contracting the virus.