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Coronavirus Deaths Reach 15 In Iran, While Government Reports Only 95 Cases

A man disinfects the shrine of Saint Masoumeh against coronavirus in the city of Qom, February 25, 2020

Iran’s Health Ministry has raised the number of coronavirus deaths from 12 to 15 on Tuesday, February 25 and says there are 34 new cases of infection bringing the total to 95 confirmed cases.

Most of the 34 new cases are in the Shiite holy city of Qom, the epicenter of the virus in Iran. However, officials have refused to quarantine Qom and it seems there are more new cases in the capital Tehran, 90 miles from Qom.

The obvious question about Iran’s official coronavirus numbers is the discrepancy in the ratio of those who have died and those designated with the virus. In China about two percent of patients die from the disease, while according to Iran’s official figures one out of six individuals succumb to the virus. The real number of infected people in Iran should be in the hundreds, not just 95.

The explanation might lie in the government’s decision not to reveal the real number of infected cases, to try to calm the public. Another explanation might simply be that the appropriate test has not been done on all individuals showing syndromes of coronavirus.

On Monday, deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi appearing in a government TV program on February 24 admitted that in fact there are 916 suspicious cases in the country but did not explain why they have not been tested.

On Tuesday, Hqarirchi published a video on social media saying he has also contracted coronavirus.

While Iran has closed universities and schools in some provinces for a few days, it is not clear why more comprehensive steps have not been taken to control the disease.

A delegation of World Health Organization is visiting Tehran today to review the situation.