The government of Peru announced on Monday (31) the revision of the number of deaths recorded by Covid-19, bringing the figure to 180,764 deaths, almost triple the amount previously released – 69,342 until Sunday (30) . Part of the explanation for such a low rate, according to the government, is due to the lack of testing to confirm whether a person has died from the virus or some other cause.
The change came about because a technical group created in April by Peruvian experts and international bodies such as the WHO recommended changing the accounting criteria after determining that “the current methodology has two limitations that generate a sub -declaration”.
From now on, the death toll will count as deaths from Covid-19 those who meet seven established criteria, including “probable cases”, which “show an epidemiological link with confirmed infections”. Deaths due to the pandemic will also be considered as “suspected cases of Covid-19 which present a clinical picture compatible with the disease”. Thus, in addition to the records of deaths occurring up to 60 days after the detection tests, will be counted, for example, the victims whose X-rays, tomographs or MRIs are compatible with cases of Covid-19.
Peru has been one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic in Latin America, which has overcrowded hospitals and led to a shortage of oxygen tanks at medical centers. Experts have long warned that the true death toll is underestimated in official statistics.
With the previous toll, Peru had the 13th highest death rate from the pandemic in the world, with 2,103 deaths per million inhabitants, according to the AFP news agency from official figures. After the update, it becomes the country with the highest death rate in the world, with 5,484 deaths per million population, well ahead of the 3,077 deaths in second place, Hungary. With 33 million inhabitants, the Andean country records more than 1.9 million contaminations.
“We believe it is our duty to make this updated information public,” Peruvian Council of Ministers President Violeta Bermudez said at a press conference on the review. “Thanks to the work of this team […] we will have more comprehensive figures which will be very useful in monitoring the pandemic and taking the appropriate measures to deal with it. “
The updated figures are in line with so-called excessive death numbers, which researchers have used in Peru and other countries to measure possible underreporting.
The excess mortality rate measures the total number of deaths over a period of time and compares it to the same pre-pandemic period. In March, the Mexican government admitted that the country’s Covid-19 death toll was 60% higher than officially published.
In February, the management of the health crisis in Peru brought down two ministers, involved in scandals related to the vaccination campaign against Covid-19 in the country. Pilar Mazzetti, who headed the health ministry, resigned after a Lima newspaper published an article claiming that former President Martín Vizcarra was vaccinated in October, weeks before his impeachment.
A few days later, it was the turn of Elizabeth Astete, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to ask to leave. She admitted to having stood in line when receiving, on January 22, a dose of vaccine from a “remaining batch”.
“I presented the President of the Republic with my letter of resignation from the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs,” Astete said in a statement posted on her Twitter profile, in which she indicated that she would forgo receiving the second dose of the immunizing agent. .
At the time, interim president Francisco Sagasti did not spare criticism of former subordinates. “I am outraged and furious at this situation which endangers the efforts of many Peruvians,” he told a television station.
The country’s next president will be decided on Sunday (6), during the second round of the dispute between Keiko Fujimori and Pedro Castillo. According to the latest poll of intention to vote, published on Sunday (30), the two appear to be technically tied.
Carried out by the Ipsos Institute, the survey shows Castillo with 51.1% of the vote, and Keiko, with 48.9%. The margin of error is 2.5 percentage points.