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Tehran Council Member Says COVID-19 Killed More Than 10,000 In Capital

IRAN PANDEMIC CORONAVIRUS COVID19 -- Iranians wearing face masks walk past in a street of Tehran, Iran, 04 August 2020.

A member of the Tehran City Council said on Sunday that Tehran’s COVID-19 death toll has risen to 10,200 residents since the outbreak began in February, with the Health Ministry's official death toll for the country reaching 20,643.

Addressing a council meeting, Counselor Nahid Khodakarami also warned about the impact of the current month-long mourning ceremonies and the threat of a third wave of COVID-19.

Khodakarami previously said on July 19 that Tehran’s death toll since February stood at 7,167, which brings August’s numbers to a terrifyingly-high 3,000. On July 27, Khodakarami said that over a two-day period, 234 residents of the capital who had died of COVID-19 were buried in the city's massive Behesht-e Zahra cemetery. The City Council collects its information on COVID deaths from the cemetery.

The coronavirus situation in Iran has deteriorated since mid-June, when deaths first rose above 100 people per day, before eventually topping 200 daily deaths. Circumstances have been particularly alarming in Tehran, designated as a "red zone".

Over the last 24-hour reporting period, 141 people have died of COVID in Iran, according to the latest official announcement, bringing the country’s official death toll to 20,643. Recent figures for Tehran bring the official death toll for the entire country into serious question, given the population statistics.

Tehran has a nighttime population of 8.7 million and according to Pirouz Hanachi, the Mayor of Tehran, more than three million people commute from the surrounding towns and cities every day.

Given the daytime population of the capital, which is about one-seventh of the country's population of 83 million, the country’s official figures showing 10,000 dead for the capital and only 20,000 for the entire country seems like potentially flawed data.

The official COVID statistics offered by the government have been widely challenged, even by the Parliament Research Center, which estimated the real number of victims as double the number announced officially.

The Health Ministry stopped the announcement of COVID cases and deaths in individual provinces on April 13 and has never released any figures for the capital Tehran and Qom, the ground zero of the pandemic in Iran and the country's religious capital.