Reliable and accurate numbers of COVID-19 cases may be much higher than reported. This article looks at 3 reasons why this may be the case, including governments hiding deaths, many countries not recording COVID-19 care-home deaths, and individuals hiding their coronavirus symptoms:
Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, it was suggested that some governments were hiding the true total of COVID-19 deaths in their countries. Two countries accused of this were Iran and China. It raises questions as to why governments would do this. Are they wanting to play-down the figures, so as not to cause panic and fear in their citizens? Are they hiding their figures from other countries, so as not to show their country has been weakened and incapacitated by the coronavirus? Are they worried they’d be judged negatively for poor planning or medical care if they reported the true numbers of cases and deaths?
In a March article by The Observers, they suggest that in Iran, “regional officials are reporting higher rates in their own areas, and publicly questioning the statistics being announced by the Health Ministry.” They continue to state that hospital administrators have been advising doctors treating coronavirus patients to list other causes of death, such as pneumonia, heart-attacks, tuberculosis, and pulmonary embolism on death certificates. Doctors were only allowed to write COVID-19 if there was a positive result from a screening test. People had begun to notice that far more people were being buried at cemeteries than reported.
An April article in Bloomberg suggests that US Intelligence has found that China concealed the extent of the outbreak there, it is thought that they've been deliberately under-reporting on the number of cases and deaths, giving statistics that were fake and falsified. President Trump commented that China’s numbers were “a little bit on the light side.” It is thought that China may have had its outbreak, a month before it started reporting cases. This move from China was designed to retain internal support; in order to safeguard the economy and prevent further Covid-19 backlash.
On Friday 10th April, in the UK newspaper The Mail Online it reported that the 980 UK deaths that day from COVID-19, was Europe’s highest single-day death toll, surpassing Italy and Spain. That same day it was alleged that 5,706 more patients had tested positive with the coronavirus. The article is contradictory though, as it later states, that “France, however, is recording higher death tolls – up to 2,000 a day because it is routinely recording deaths that happen in care homes as well as hospitals, something most nations aren’t doing.” Last time I checked; France was in Europe! This immediately highlights, however, that different countries have different processes for recording coronavirus related deaths, which means the public isn’t given accurate statistics and that statistics between countries can’t be reliably compared. If many countries aren’t including care home deaths from COVID-19 this could be missing out on a large part of the population, especially as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are considered one of the higher risk groups if they catch this.
Another aspect that should be considered, is that some people may have mild symptoms of coronavirus, and therefore may be unaware they have it, or they could attribute the symptoms to another illness, such as flu, or chest-infection and they may feel under the weather, but not require hospital assistance. Some of these people may genuinely just not realize.
Whereas other people may suspect they have COVID-19 and try to conceal this deliberately. This could be for numerous reasons including:
An article in the Guardian newspaper has suggested that people hiding their coronavirus “could thwart containment efforts,” because it is so highly contagious. The suggestion is that people should report their illness, self-isolate, and stay at home. There is the case of the ex-Biogen employee who took medication to reduce her fever so that she could board a plane and bypass travel restrictions to fly to China, she does now face criminal charges.
These are three reasons here, amongst many, for why the numbers we’re given about cases of COVID-19 and deaths from it, may not be as high as we are led to believe.
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