Iran Raises Official COVID-19 Toll, but Lawmakers Say it Could be Double
Iran has raised its official death toll from coronavirus to almost 4,870, adding 92 fatalities from the previous 24 hours. Yet researchers in the Majles, the country’s parliament, say the actual figure could be far higher. Appearing on state television, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said that of the 77,995 people in the country who had been infected as of Thursday morning, 4,869 had died – numbers being contradicted by a report just published by Iran’s parliamentary research center. “The assessment is that the actual mortality that has not been accounted for is 0.8 times the official figures. The number of infected cases could be 8 to 10 times the official figures,” the report noted. Its authors cited a possible culprit: “To narrow the gap between the officially announced figures and the estimated figures, it is necessary to improve the laboratory capacity of the country.” Some of Tehran’s critics, whether domestically or abroad, are charging a cover-up, although many health experts say the discrepancy is likely due to an early inability to diagnose cases of coronavirus, and a resulting overcrowding in hospital wards.