With the number of Coronavirus (Coivd-19) deaths announced by Iran over the past time, the death rate in this country reaches 16%, far exceeding the average figure in many other countries in the world.
Iran is the country with the highest number of corona virus deaths outside of mainland China. Iranian Ministry of Health spokesman Kianoosh Jahanpour confirmed on February 25 that 15 patients had died out of 95 positive cases for the new strain of corona virus (SARS-CoV-2).
According to NBC News, this raises questions about how the Tehran government responds to the public health crisis and whether the Iranian leadership has sufficient information or ability to control the spread of the virus outbreak. corona (referred to by the World Health Organization (WHO) as Covid-19).
Mortality rate up to 16%
Since the outbreak in Wuhan City (Hubei Province), the number of deaths from corona virus infection in mainland China has been 2,715 out of a total of 78,064 positive cases, as of February 25. The death rate in mainland China is about 2-3%. In Korea, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) as of February 26 recorded 12 deaths out of a total of 1,261 infections. The death rate is about 1%.
Meanwhile, the Iranian government announced 95 cases by February 25. The Iranian Ministry of Health confirmed 15 deaths among them. State media later reported that the 16th patient had died. The proportion of people infected with the virus died up to 16%, far exceeding the number of South Korea and the epidemic in China.
Public health experts fear Iran will become a bridge to an outbreak of disease across the Middle East. The country has both a shortage of medical masks and an antiseptic handwashing liquid, and has borders with many countries destabilized by wars or socio-political instability.
The first positive case for corona virus in Iran was announced in Qom city in the middle of last week. Within a few days, the disease had spread to at least 7 provinces of the Islamic Republic. A number of countries in the region such as Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Afghanistan and Oman have appeared infected. Governments say infected people have been to Iran.
Concerned about transparency
The rapid spread of the infection has led to many critics inside and outside Iran about how the government responds to the disease. The degree of transparency and accuracy in the way Iran publishes information is questionable, though its officials have denied any claims that Tehran is hiding the epidemic.
The head of Qom City Medical Science University, Mohammad Reza Ghadir, revealed on national television that the Iranian Ministry of Health banned the publication of local corona virus outbreak data. Asked about the number of people being quarantined in Qom, Ghadir said the Iranian Ministry of Health “asked us not to report any figures”. The principal said that “most tests are conducted in Tehran and only Tehran publishes the results”.
Earlier, an Iranian politician revealed that the number of deaths in Qom City due to corona virus infection is higher than the government announced number. The statement immediately met with a fierce response from Iran’s Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi, leader of the epidemic response team. The deputy minister one day later was confirmed positive for corona virus.
The level of confidence in the way Tehran published its crisis settlement information dropped after the incident of a Ukrainian commercial plane accident in January. Nearly three days after the plane crashed, Iranian leaders and the country’s armed forces. This is the only official responsibility for the disaster that killed 176 people.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on February 25 that he was concerned about “information that implies that Iranian authorities may be hiding important details” about the corona virus outbreak in the country.
“Every country, including Iran, should be telling the truth about the corona virus epidemic and working with international aid organizations,” Pompeo said.
Problems in tracing Coronavirus infection
Non-Iranian health experts say the total number of officially declared Tehran cases is being updated more slowly than the number of confirmed deaths. This may be because Iranian officials miss cases without serious illness nationwide because the majority of tests and diagnoses are conducted in the capital. Other possible reasons include information sharing problems and faulty medical equipment.
“It may be a matter of reporting. The case report may be slower than the death report,” said Dr. Yanzhong Huang, an expert at Seton Hall University (New Jersey, USA), an analyst. Global health at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), said.
The fact that Iran has enough capacity to count the number of infected people nationwide is still a mystery. To do this, health officials need to reach every town and village for testing, not just focusing on patients with severe symptoms and being taken to a large hospital, according to Dr. William Schaffner. , preventive medicine and infectious disease specialist at Vandebilt University Medical Center (Tennessee, USA).
“This requires going to the neighborhood and knocking on every door, aggressively searching for cases. I don’t know if they have the capacity for that. There are many countries that lack the ability and they don’t have the tradition either. in the public health system. This is very strange to them, “he said.
Another theory in the case of Iran is the corona virus infected group. It is likely that most of the cases are the elderly, which are more vulnerable to the disease. According to Schaffner, if the virus infects an elderly population, there are many other health problems, which can explain the high mortality rate.
Another explanation, though less convincing, is that Iranian hospitals are overcrowded and patients are not treated promptly. Mr. Schaffner personally does not believe this is the cause of high mortality rates because Iran has a fairly advanced health care system.
John Torres, an NBC health expert, said there was no evidence that the genetic information of the virus strain changed in the case of Iran. In addition, other places in the world did not detect the mutant virus. He said the most convincing explanation for the high death rates in Iran is that the country’s case detection system is in trouble.