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Iran's Newly Released Overall Death Numbers Can Shed Light On Coronavirus Toll

A coronavirus victim in Iran before burial without a family funeral. April 28, 2020
A coronavirus victim in Iran before burial without a family funeral. April 28, 2020

After an unprecedented delay amid the COVID-19 epidemic the National Organization for Civil Registration of Iran (NOCRI) has finally published nationwide death figures for past winter.

On May 5, NOCRI had said that the organization will not be disclosing the country's death toll for December 21-March 20, at the order of the country's National Headquarters to Fight Coronavirus.

Overall death figures can shed light on the real number of coronavirus victims, as many people doubt the official toll published by Iran’s health ministry.

But on May 8, state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA) cited the spokesman of NOCRI, Saifollah Abootorabi, as saying that during the winter of 2020, a total of 105,787 people died in Iran, the largest number of which was related to Tehran province with 16,773 people.

In the winter of 2019, the death toll was 101,210. Therefore, the figure shows 4,557 more deaths in 2020, immediately after the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and its related deadly disease COVID-19.

The issue of death statistics for the three months ending March 20, 2020, has been highlighted since a member of the Tehran City Council, Mohammad Javad Haqshenas, revealed that 13,000 people were buried in Tehran's main cemetery in March and April 2020. He added that by comparing the number of people who died in March-April 2020 with the same period last year, it would be possible to deduct the pandemic’s real toll.

However, NOCRI has so far refrained from publishing separate numbers concerning deaths from other causes, such as on-the-job and car accidents.

Meanwhile, it is safe to conclude that the number of such deaths has significantly dropped since the coronavirus outbreak. Therefore, the number of people who died of CIVID-19 should be much higher than the figures officially released by the Islamic Republic authorities.

Various reports from the Majles (parliament) Research Center and remarks by the head of the country's medical system organization also confirm that the number is much higher than the official figures released by the Islamic Republic's Ministry of Health.