Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani citing a health ministry report said on Saturday that 30-35 million more Iranians, out of a population of 82 million, could become infected with the coronavirus.
Speaking at the national coronavirus taskforce headquarters, Rouhani also said the health ministry estimates up to 25 million people in Iran have already been infected since February when the government announced the first cases of COVID-19, but 30-35 million more could get the virus.
The official number of confirmed cases stands at around 270,000, although some official sources and many social influencers have been saying that the government is under-reporting infection and death numbers.
This is the first time Rouhani has mentioned such a large number of possible infections in the country since the pandemic began and a huge number of possible future cases.
All along, Rouhani has tried to keep the economy open and restrictions imposed in the country have been slow to come, short-lived and haphazard. The rate of infection and deaths slowed in May but with a quick return to normalcy, a second wave began in June.
He also disclosed that more than 200,000 patients have been hospitalized since February and nearly 14,000 have died.
Given the high number of hospitalizations mentioned by Rouhani, the official number of 270,000 infections so far may well be an underestimation by the government. Hospitalization of those testing positive for the coronavirus around the world is estimated to be up to 20 percent of positive cases. Iran has administered around two million tests so far.
Iran’s president also added that the health ministry estimates the hospitalization of around 400,000 in the coming months if the prediction of 30-35 million more infections comes true.