Iran announces its virus death toll passes 30,000

Iran announced Saturday that its death toll from the coronavirus has passed the milestone of 30,000, in what has been the Mideast region’s worst outbreak.

Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari announced that the total death toll from the outbreak had reached at least 30,123.

She said that 4,721 virus patients are in critical condition.

Iran has been struggling with the coronavirus since announcing its first cases in February, with more than 526,000 confirmed cases to date.

In recent weeks, Iran has seen daily death tolls spike to their highest-ever levels, sparking increasing concern even as government officials continue to resist a total lockdown for fear of cratering the economy, which has been hard-hit by U.S. sanctions.

On Wednesday, Iranian officials announced a travel ban to and from five major cities, including the capital of Tehran and the holy city of Mashhad, that they said aimed to contain the virus’ spread.

The coronavirus has also spread to some of the highest levels of Iran’s government, which includes many older men. Among those recently infected is the head of the country’s atomic energy organization, while Iran’s vice president in charge of budget and planning tested positive on Sunday.

After downplaying the outbreak in its first weeks, Iranian officials have more recently begun to admit the scope of the epidemic within the country.

Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi, who had tested positive for the virus in March after playing down its threat and refuting reports of mass deaths, told state TV on Wednesday that the country’s true death toll is about double the reported figures.

According to officials, there are also large numbers of patients in hospitals being treated as COVID-19 cases but who have not been tested, whose tests came out as false negatives or whose symptoms are not the same as those listed by the World Health Organization and who are therefore not counted in the official case numbers.

Like in many other countries, the spiraling outbreak in Iran reflects the government’s contradictory virus response. This week, as the daily recorded death toll hit the record for three times, authorities announced tighter restrictions for the hard-hit capital of Tehran.

Recently reopened universities and schools, as well as libraries, mosques, cinemas, museums and beauty salons, shut down. In the past week, the government mandated that all Tehran residents wear face masks outdoors and in public places, warning violators would be fined. Officials promised those who tested positive would be closely tracked.

Movement restrictions this spring somewhat checked the spread of the disease. Then the government swiftly reopened the country, desperate to boost its stricken economy. Since June, the case count has steadily increased—and spiked to new heights in recent weeks.

Long before the virus hit, Iran’s economy was ailing, pummeled by U.S. sanctions after the Trump administration’s unilateral withdrawal in 2018 from Tehran’s nuclear accord with world powers. As the death toll soared this week, the nation’s currency plunged to its lowest level ever, following the U.S. administration’s decision last week to blacklist Iranian banks that had so far escaped the bulk of re-imposed American sanctions.

As Iran approaches winter, the seasonal influenza could be an added and serious issue for the country, as it has had purchasing the flu vaccine amid new American sanctions on Iranian banks.

Iran’s Red Crescent Society said in a tweet on Tuesday that they were in charge of importing two million flu vaccine doses into the country, but that new U.S. sanctions prevented the import.

Meanwhile on Saturday, the United Arab Emirates has announced its highest single-day total of new cases of the coronavirus amid a spike in the Gulf nation that is home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The country’s Health Ministry said tests found 1,538 new cases of the virus, pushing the overall number of cases to 114,387.

The ministry said another four people died from the virus, pushing the overall death toll to 459. Overall recoveries are at 106,354.

Recorded infections have soared again in recent weeks, as authorities have relaxed restrictions and resumed schools for in-person instruction. Dubai has reopened its airport for international travelers and embarked on an active campaign promoting itself as a tourism destination amid the pandemic.

Source: Read Full Article

New York City had 24,000 'excess deaths', CDC report finds

Coronavirus blamed for 75% of New York City’s 24,000 ‘excess deaths’ as fatalities tripled the usual rate at the height of the outbreak, CDC report finds

  • Between March 11 and May 2, a total of 32,107 deaths were reported in New York
  • Researchers found that 24,172 were ‘excess’, three times the typical number of 7,935 usually reported during this time
  • The excess deaths included about 14,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 5,048 probable COVID-19 deaths
  • The CDC says the high number of excess deaths may be linked to people with pre-existing conditions or those who waited to seek life-saving medical care
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

The number of people who died in New York City during the height of the coronavirus pandemic is more than triple what would be expected in a normal year, a new report finds.   

Between March 11 and May 2, there were more than 24,000 ‘excess deaths’, compared to years prior, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed on Monday. 

That means, in a typical year, there are about 8,000 deaths during the same period.

More than three-quarters of those deaths were associated with COVID-19, the highly-infectious disease caused by the virus.  

Between March 11 and May 2, a total of 32,107 deaths were reported in New York and 24,000 were found to be ‘excess,’ a new CDC report reveals (pictured)

The excess deaths included about 14,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 5,048 probable COVID-19 deaths.Pictured: Ventilator tubes attached to a coronavirus patient in the ICU of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New  York, NY, April 24

The CDC says the high number of excess deaths may be linked to people with pre-existing conditions or those who waited to seek life-saving medical care. Pictured: A COVID-19 patient, in a medically induced coma, is connected to life-sustaining devices at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital in Oceanside, NY, April 14

Excess deaths are defined as over and above the number of people that would have died anyway – the typical mortality rate of a population.  

For the report, the researchers looked at mortality data from January 1, 2015 through May 2, 2020. 

Next, the team calculated the difference between the seasonal number of expected deaths and the number of all deaths.

A total of 32,107 deaths were reported to New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene over the study period. 

Of that number, 24,172 were found to ‘excess’, three times the typical number of 7,935 that usually occur during the two-month window.  

The excess deaths included nearly 14,000 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19-associated deaths and 5,048 probable COVID-19–associated deaths. 

According to the CDC, the high number of excess deaths might be due to the added risk of coronavirus in people with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes.

Additionally, the researchers say that due to social distancing measures and the increasing demand place on hospitals, people may have delayed seeking life-saving medical care. 

The 5,000 deaths not linked to the virus are likely from other pathogens circulating during the 2019-20 flu season. 

‘Tracking excess mortality is important to understanding the contribution to the death rate from both COVID-19 disease and the lack of availability of care for non-COVID conditions,’ the authors concluded. 

The report comes on the heels of a joint investigation by Yale University and The Washington Post, which found there were 15,400 ‘excess deaths’ that occurred between March 1 and April 4. 

According the study, pre-printed on medRxiv.org, there were 280,016 total deaths  over the five-week period.

Of those, 15,400 were deemed excess deaths due to pneumonia and influenza.

The researchers say the preliminary findings suggest many more Americans may have died of coronavirus than previously believed.  

In the US, there are currently more than 1.3 million confirmed cases of the virus and more than 80,000 deaths. 

Source: Read Full Article