The coronavirus pandemic has created a humanitarian crisis in Iran. Zamaneh Media has obtained several documents containing data from Iranian hospitals. The leaked documents indicate that the Iranian government has been covering up the actual Covid-19 infection and mortality numbers in the country.
Based on the leaked data, the situation in Iran is much more dier compared to what Iranian government portraits. These documents show that the actual infection and mortality rate is three times higher than officially reported. Also, a significant number of children and teenagers in Iran have been affected by Covid-19.
The data that has been sent anonymously to Zamaneh, show figures up until 5 July 2020. Based on the leaked information, 35,000 patients have died in Iran from contracting Covid-19. The number of infected patients who have contracted the virus is 393,841.
The official numbers that have been reported to media by state officials are almost a third of these numbers. Iranian Ministry of Health claims that the total number of people affected with coronavirus until July 5 is about 240,000 and that 11,500 have died as a result of Covid-19 infections.
BBC Persian has also reported similar numbers, and it seems that the source that has leaked the documents to both Zamaneh and BBC Persian is the same.
The source has accused the Iranian Health Minister, Saeed Namaki of mismanaging the pandemic claiming that he has falsified the data to cover up his ministry’s mismanagement.
The document includes the details of hospitals, admission date, age, gender, and other medical conditions that can adversely affect a Covid-19 infection.
Zamaneh has not independently fact-checked this data. However, BBC Persian says that they have fact-checked the same data and numbers and they approve its authenticity.
Patient Zero: When did the Pandemic Start?
Based on this document, the date of the first group of patients that were admitted to hospitals with coronavirus symptoms is 21 January 2020.
On this date in twenty-one cities across Iran, including Isfahan, Hamedan, Mashad, Shiraz, Qom, Tehran, Ahvaz, Rasht, and Astara, patients admitted to hospital, and their test results were positive for Covid-19 infection.
Based on the Iranian health official’s statements, patient zero was recorded on 22 February 2020, which shows a one-month cover-up in announcing the first cases.
According to the health officials in the city of Qom, the first cases of death due to Covid-19 was on 19 February 2020.
Foreign National Infected
From 11,500 deaths, 1582, death is related to foreign nationals who live in Iran. The citizenship information of victims has not been leaked. The only evidence we have of their national origin is the first and last names, and one can allude from the names that the victims are Afghan nationals.
Most of the deaths of foreign residents have happened in the provinces of Tehran and Khorasan Razavi.
Senior Citizens Affected More
The data show that from mid-January until the first week of July, the average age of the affected people was 52 years old.
Based on the recent census, the average age in Iran is about 33 years old. It seems that the coronavirus is seen more among the senior population.
The virus has also targeted the younger population; until 5 July 2020, there were 2700 newborn babies and 12,000 children under the age of ten infected.
The Iranian capital, Tehran, has been hit harder by the virus.
A person familiar with the coronavirus pandemic in Tehran told Zamaneh anonymously that the second wave of Corona started in Tehran already. This source suggests that after the holiday season of the last week of May, people started traveling across the country and this has contributed to the second wave of infections.
A health care provider in the city of Shiraz told Zamaneh that the Islamic Republic has a habit of covering up and not publishing genuine data. According to this physician who has been providing care to Covid-19 patients, it is difficult to say if Iran has ever passed the first wave of coronavirus pandemic or to claim if the country has entered the second wave.
Iranian Ministry of Health’s latest data says by 10 August 2020, the number of deaths from the new coronavirus is 17,405 people, while the total number of infected people is more than 312,000.
On Monday, August 10, Iranian officials shut down Jahan-e Sanat newspaper, which questioned the authenticity of the official numbers in a report. A former health official was quoted by the Jahan-e Sanat saying that the death tolls might be twenty times higher than what officials announced.
While there is a low tolerance towards questioning the officials’ narrative about Covid-19, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently said 25 million Iranians had been infected with the coronavirus since February. If the figure that Rouhani is making public is accurate, it means that for every four Iranians, one has been infected by the new coronavirus.