Iran Health Ministry says COVID-19 deaths are higher than reported

Al-Monitor – Iran’s deputy health minister warned that the actual numbers of deaths from the coronavirus are higher than what the public is being told.

As the country struggles to bring down the high number of coronavirus-related deaths, Iran’s Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi appeared on national television to show how the country is struggling with a second wave of deaths.

Standing before a chart showing the daily deaths since February, when Iran first experienced the outbreak of coronavirus infections, Harirchi said on average 102 Iranians have died from the virus per day. The chart shows Iran — experiencing a second wave with a dip in the middle of April — as having over 200 deaths a day currently.

Harirchi warned that the numbers are misleading. He said 1,000 Iranians a day die on average, and of the current daily deaths, a number of those individuals were hospitalized and treated for COVID-19 symptoms but never tested positive. Therefore, according to World Health Organization protocol, they are not technically counted as COVID-19 deaths. He warned that the “most important health, social, economic and political issue in the world is currently the coronavirus.”

Harirchi said currently 26 of Iran’s 31 provinces are in red zones, meaning they are areas with high infection rates. He said over 70 million of Iran’s 80 million-plus residents live in those areas and, due to the high traffic in Tehran, they’ve become epicenters of contagion.

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