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More than 50% of the unexplained deaths in the northern Nigerian state of Kano in April were due to coronavirus, according to Health Minister Osagie Ehanire. Ehanire said a government team sent to investigate a spike in deaths in the state during April showed that 979 people died in eight municipalities at the rate of 43 deaths per day. The deaths peaked in the second week of April and mortality figures later fell to 11 per day in early May — the state’s typical daily death rate — according to the minister.

Most of the deaths happened at home and in patients older than 65 and with pre-existing illnesses, he said. “With circumstantial evidence as all to go by, investigation suggests that between 50-60% of the deaths may have been triggered by or due to Covid-19, in the face of pre-existing ailments,” Ehanire told a Monday briefing.

While gravediggers told CNN they were burying more bodies, state authorities said preliminary investigations showed the deaths were unconnected to coronavirus, initially blaming them on meningitis, diabetes, hypertension and other ailments.

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