By Laura Kemp • 30 March 2020 • 16:16
The vastly different methods in tracking the death and infection rate of coronavirus amongst countries is raising questions about how nations should appropriately track the outbreaks.
Various internet hoaxes are circulating the web and social media, which accuse Germany and the Netherlands of ‘sweeping bodies under statistical rugs’ and the UK of ‘asking permission from the deceased’s relatives to decide whether they should be included in the official count.’
Experts in epidemiology, the branch of medicine which studies distribution and control of diseases, have warned that countries are wrongly reporting the deaths caused by coronavirus. Regional officials claim that in Spain, the deaths of individuals in private homes or senior residences who had not been tested are not being included in the death count.
This also contributes to the issue of uncovering the true number of cases and infection within the nation. Due to a shortage of tests, this limited access to tests can affect the percentage of deaths as a proportion of total cases, making the mortality rate seem much higher.
Italy’s method is to count all patients who tested positive and died, regardless of other aspects of their medical history. This is the criteria established by the Higher Institute of Health.
Before the crisis escalated in the UK, all patients who had died in the hospital as a result of a respiratory disease did not specify which virus caused this. This is due to legal obligations, which states that the cause must be stated unless it was triggered by antharax, botulism, malaria or tuberculosis, but not coronavirus. Only since March 5 has coronavirus been added to this exception. Furthermore, tests in the UK have only been provided to people who are hospitalised with grave symptoms, health authorities in Britain estimated that the real number of cases could be around 10 or 20 times more.
French authorities have only been counting the death of patients throughout 600 designated Covid-19 hospitals. This does not include elderly homes, after news broke in France regarding the multiple deaths of elderly people in homes, Macron announced that they would begin tracking these as well.
In Germany, where the mortality rate stands at only 0.72 per cent have been contested as they do not correlate with the daily figures released by John Hopkins University, which is tracking the disease worldwide. The Robert Koch Institute, which is currently tracking Germany’s Covid-19 deaths has stated that ‘all deaths connected to the Covid-19 virus are being registered in the notification: those who died directly as a result of the disease, and those who had underlying diseases when they were infected, as it is impossible to determine the ultimate cause of death.’
In the Netherlands health professionals are only conducting tests on patients who are hospitalised. The agency who is tracking the escalation of the disease says that the real number of infection could be much higher.
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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