The government may have lied about the number of people who died from coronavirus in Iran as records show nearly triple the number of deaths than what the health ministry claims. The official records of the health ministry show 14,405 deaths till the 20th of July as compared to 42,000 deaths according to leaked government records. Also, according to the leaked data one person is dying every seven minutes in Iran with Covid19 symptoms.
Even before these leaks, Iran was among the list of countries that witnessed exponential growth in cases since February. The records were leaked by an anonymous source showing that the first death by covid19 occurred in the country on the 22nd of January which is a month earlier than the first confirmed case in the country. The record also claimed that confirmed infections are more than 451,000 as of 22nd of July which was nearly double the figure released by the government which was up to 260,000.
Alongside Iran, China has also been accused of changing its numbers to cover up the true scale of its crisis. The number of cases has dropped since March but over the last few weeks, Iran is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases. On Monday a health ministry spokesperson confirmed that 215 people have died of the virus which was more than 200 from the previous day, the country’s highest figure since the start of the pandemic.
According to the Health ministry’s data, Iran is still the worst-hit country by the pandemic in the Middle East. It says that the total confirmed cases of coronavirus in Iran are nearly 310,000 and at least 17,190 people have died of the virus since it arrived in February. Iran has the 10th highest death toll according to the data and the 26th highest death toll per million people. But if the leaked data is proven to be true then Iran would enter the list of the top 5 countries affected by the pandemic.
Iranian doctors started giving warnings to the government about the coronavirus pandemic as early as December of 2019 when the virus was discovered for the first time in China. On the 19th of February, two positive cases of covid19 were reported in Qom, a holy city in the north of Iran. Both were thought to have been related to travel to China. According to the leaked data, by the time government acknowledged those first two cases of the coronavirus, 52 people had already died of the virus.
The capital Tehran which is home to 8.7 million people, has seen 5000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus per official health ministry data but according to the leaked data, it has the highest number of deaths with some 8120 people dying after testing positive or showing symptoms of the virus. Proportionally, the city of Qom, which is 90 miles south-west of Tehran, is the worst hit with one death for every thousand people making a total of 1419 deaths.
The health ministry claimed that the country has made reports to the World Health Organization (WHO) without making any deviations and the reports are transparent. However, the source leaking the data claimed they shared the data to shed light on the truth and to end political games. It includes the names, gender, date, age, symptoms, length of periods spent in the hospital and the underlying conditions of the people admitted in the hospitals daily.
The gap between the official and leaked figures of the coronavirus in Iran is huge and suggests that it has been deliberately changed to cover up the actual size of the crisis as compared to slight level of inaccuracy which can be seen in many countries like in the UK there are investigations that the deaths may be wrongly counted but the difference there, however, is of only 1000.