Let's Not Forget Them
Scroll Down

The human tragedy brought on by the coronavirus is so immense that even extinction seems a possibility. So when stranded amid invisible invaders with annihilating powers, it is human to underestimate the enemy. Even death is made light of, because it is unnerving to see Kerala crossing a sad milestone of 200* among us slain by COVID-19 so swiftly. Desperate for normalcy, we belittle our own tragedy. We resize the danger to suit our sense of well-being, as if we are shamans bottling demons in rusty kitchen jars. We play number games to shrink the enormity of deaths to something insignificant. We say 203 deaths happened when over 54,000 were tested positive in the state, a death rate of mere 0.37 per cent, virtually zero. It is as if this is no loss at all. Try telling this to the parents of a four-month-old baby who died in Manjeri, to the husbands, wives, sons, daughters and grandchildren of the others who lost the battle against the virus. To ignore death is to undermine our collective suffering. We perhaps remember the first among us to fall – the Dubai-returnee Yakub Husain Sait in Ernakulam, the retired policeman Abdul Azeez in Thiruvananthapuram, and the four-month-old child in Malappuram district. But when deaths became a daily affair, we lost track. Soon, it was as if they ceased to matter. Panic got the better of us, and some of us fumed with indignation when bodies of our own were brought to a burial ground near our homes. Insult stalked death. This memorial that Onmanorama has created is a reminder that we are at war. In a bizarre moment in history, all of us, no exceptions granted, are fighting the same enemy. Each figure here stands for one of the squadron members we lost in the battle against the pandemic in Kerala.

(*Though Kerala crossed the death toll of 200 a few days ago, the official list is being updated slowly as the government has decided to wait for the final confirmation on COVID-19 infection of each of the deceased from the National Institute of Virology laboratory in Alappuzha. Besides, the government has omitted some of the names because they had comorbidities. Health department says this is being done in accordance with the World Health Organisation's guidelines.)

Source - Kerala Directorate of Health Service Dashboard, DHS daily press release

Deaths excluded from Kerala's official list

Mehroof (67)

Mahe, UT of Puducherry; died at Government Medical College in Pariyaram, Kannur

Reason: Kerala did not include him in the official list since he hailed from Union Territory of Puducherry. The decision, however, contradicts the Centre's directive that COVID-19 deaths should be recorded at the place of occurrence irrespective of which state the person hailed from.

B A Abdul Rahman

Mogral Puthur, Kasaragod, July 7, 2020

Reason: Abdul Rahman was living in Hubli in Karnataka. He died while being taken to the Government Hospital in Kasaragod on the day he arrived from Hubli. District collector had said that Rahman died in transit and he was not living in Kasaragod and hence his name would not be included in Kerala's list.

A Kollam native, died on July 12 due to drowning, tested positive after death.

A Kozhikode native who expired due to cancer in Kozhikode on July 24.

A COVID-19 patient who was under treatment for COVID-19 in Pathanamthitta has expired due to cancer on July 27.

Apart from this, 24 people, including three Tamil Nadu natives, from Thiruvananthapuram, seven from Ernakulam, four from Malappuram and Kozhikode, three from Kasaragod, two each from Alappuzha, Kollam, Thrissur and Kannur, one each from Palakkad and Idukki tested positive for coronavirus after death. These deaths were excluded from the official list by the Health Department as it classified the fatalities as non-COVID deaths.