Are countries downplaying Covid-19 fatality rate?

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on August 04, 2020 Published on August 04, 2020

Reasons could be insufficient data as well as deliberate suppression of cases, say reports

Iran reportedly tweaked the number of deaths due to novel coronavirus. The actual figure is three times the figure presented by Iran’s government, while the number of people infected with the virus is double the official figure announced by the health ministry, the BBC reported.

According to an official record accessed by the BBC, almost 42,000 people died with Covid-19 symptoms up to July 20. However, the health ministry of the country reported only 14,405 deaths. The number of people known to be infected is close to 451,024 as opposed to 278,827. The official numbers will make Iran the worst-affected country by Covid-19 in West Asia.

Many countries have under-reported the number of cases and deaths due to coronavirus because of inadequate testing. However, the report accessed by the BBC further revealed that Iran deliberately suppressed the numbers despite having a record of all cases and deaths.

Earlier, China was under the radar for misreporting on the virus. When China was struggling with the first outbreak of the virus, many countries, including the United States, accused it of hiding information on coronavirus and downplaying its severity in the country, Associated Press reported.

Experts even say that India may also have far more cases than its official reportage. India’s death rate is nearly 20 times lower than the US, even though it has the world’s fastest-growing virus spread and has a population of over 1.3 billion people.

According to Steve H Hanke, professor of Applied Economics and the founder and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, “the problem is a mix of poor data culture and a bloated, corrupt bureaucracy.”

He believes that missing or low-quality data is always a major hindrance when formulating public policy in the health or any other field. It’s equivalent to the pilot of an aircraft flying blind, Bloomberg reported.

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Published on August 04, 2020
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