This country just revised its COVID death numbers, and the new total is staggering

Peruvian flag and Cusco flag; peru coronavirus deaths
Photo via Nicolas Rénac/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A review of Peru’s coronavirus numbers has left the country with the highest COVID-related death rate per capita in the world.

The review has more than doubled the country’s death toll, bringing it from just over 69,000 to more than 180,000, according to the BBC. Peru has a population of around 33 million. Peru’s Prime Minister, Violeta Bermudez, told reporters the numbers were revised following advice from “Peruvian and international experts.”

“It [is] our duty to make the updated information public, not only as part of our commitment to transparency, but also to comply with our obligations as a State,” she said.

Peru was in bad shape long before the governmental review, but the new numbers are harrowing. The reviewed numbers bring the country’s mortality rate up from 200 deaths per 100,000 people to 500 deaths per 100,000 people. That would give the country, by far, the highest death rate in the world.

A number of issues have resulted in Peru’s frighteningly high coronavirus death rate. The BBC notes an “absence of fridges in people’s homes,” forcing more trips to public markets. Overcrowding is also a major problem. Issues with testing have also contributed, along with established problems in the country’s healthcare system.

“We believe this occurs because our health system does not have the necessary conditions to care for patients,” Godofredo Talavera, president of the Peruvian Medical Federation, said. “There has been no government support with oxygen, with intensive care beds. We do not have enough vaccines at the moment. The first line of care has not been reactivated. All this makes us the first country in the world in mortality.”

The revised figure includes “probable” cases—instances of death in which patients present “a clinical picture compatible with the disease.” The new number puts Peru ahead of Hungary, which has around 300 deaths per 100,000 people, and the Czech Republic at about 282. 

Sources: BBC, CNN

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