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Peru has almost tripled its official Covid-19 death toll to 180,764, following a government review, making it the country with the worst death rate per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Peru has been among the hardest hit Latin America countries during the pandemic, with its hospitals overcrowded with patients and demand for oxygen outstripping availability.
The government said it would update its death count, which stood at 69,342 as of Sunday, in part because of a lack of testing that made it difficult to confirm whether a person had died due to the virus or some other cause.
According to Johns Hopkins data, Hungary had the worst number of per capita Covid-19 deaths at about 300 per 100,000 people. With its updated death toll, Peru stands at more than 500 Covid-19 deaths per 100,000 people.
“We think it is our duty to make public this updated information,” said the Peruvian prime minister, Violeta Bermúdez, at a news conference announcing the result of the review.
“What is being said is that a significant number of deaths were not classified as caused by Covid-19,” the health minister, Óscar Ugarte, said. Ugarte said that previously only those who had had a positive diagnostic test were considered to have died from the virus, but other criteria have since been incorporated.
Questions about Peru’s death toll surfaced soon after the beginning of the pandemic. Scenes of cemeteries filling up with new burials and hospitals buying refrigerated containers to act as makeshift morgues suggested the situation was far worse than the official data showed.
In Latin America, Brazil has the highest total Covid-19 death toll with more than 450,000 lives lost due to the pandemic. Based on population, however, Peru’s per capita death toll is more than double that of Brazil, according to the data.
Peru’s updated numbers are in line with so-called excess death figures, which researchers have used in Peru and other countries to measure possible undercounting during the pandemic.
Excess deaths measures the total number of deaths over a period of time and compares it with the same period pre-pandemic.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Peru has world’s worst per capita Covid toll after death data revised | Peru