There have been stories about Iran vastly under-reporting the number of coronavirus illnesses and deaths since the beginning of the breakout there. Now opposition officials have announced that the actual number of deaths from coronavirus in Iran is approaching 20,000, much higher than the official toll of 3,872.
Even worse, Iran is planning to bring people back to work and even restart sporting events in the next two weeks, despite evidence that the worst is not over yet.
In recent days, at least one Iranian official has come forward to disclose publicly just how inaccurate the Islamic Republic’s statistics truly are. In a recent interview with the official IRNA news agency, Hamid Souri, a member of Iran’s official National Coronavirus Combat Taskforce, laid out that the latest estimates suggest some 500,000 Iranians may actually be suffering from the disease, and that new outbreaks are expected in hotspot regions like Tehran, Khorasan Razavi, West Azarbaijan, Bushehr, Khuzestan, Kermanshah, and Semnan. “The coronavirus curve has not flattened in any of the country’s 31 provinces,” Souri concluded.
As with every other autocratic regime from Russia to China to Syria, one cannot believe their coronavirus figures. And organizations and governments believing those figures can endanger everyone, by allowing trade and interactions that they might otherwise avoid. One can imagine, for example, Iran or China pushing to ramp up trade with Africa now, and Africa has been comparatively spared the worst of COVID-19 with fewer deaths there than in just Louisiana. A single visitor in either direction could potentially begin infecting thousands.
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