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Research: Does Healthcare Ministry Underreport COVID-19 Deaths In Belarus?

The World Mortality Dataset: Tracking excess mortality across countries during the COVID-19 pandemic report states that the authorities in Belarus may have purposefully misdiagnosed or underreported COVID-19 deaths.

Authors Ariel Karlinski of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Dmitry Kobak of the Institute for Ophthalmic Research in Germany are the authors of “The World Mortality Dataset: Tracking excess mortality across countries during the COVID-19 pandemic”. The analyzed the available mortality data for 2020 in 77 countries around the world, comparing to the mortality rate for 2015-2019.

“We have collected weekly, monthly, or quarterly all-cause mortality data from 77 countries, openly available as the regularly-updated World Mortality Dataset. We used this dataset to compute the excess mortality in each country during the COVID-19 pandemic. We found that in the worst-affected countries the annual mortality increased by over 50%, while in several other countries it decreased by over 5%, presumably due to lockdown measures decreasing the non-COVID mortality.

Moreover, we found that while some countries have been reporting the COVID-19 deaths very accurately, many countries have been underreporting their COVID-19 deaths by an order of magnitude or more. Averaging across the entire dataset suggests that the world’s COVID-19 death toll may be at least 1.6 times higher than the reported number of confirmed deaths,” explain the authors of the research.

Scientists managed to obtain accurate data on mortality in Belarus until June 30, 2020. As a result, they found out the following:

  • As of 30 June 2020, 5,800 people died from COVID-19 in Belarus. Officially, the Healthcare Ministry of the Republic of Belarus reported 400 dead.
  • A mortality rate in Belarus has grown by 5% and the Healthcare Ministry of the Republic of Belarus underreports official data on mortality from COVID-19 by 14,7 times.

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“The undercount ratio typically stayed within 1–3 range, but some countries showed much larger values. We found the highest undercounts in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Egypt, and Russia. Such large undercount ratios strongly suggest purposeful misdiagnosing or underreporting of COVID-19 deaths,” reads the report.

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