COVID-19 indirectly killed thousands, Spain’s PM Sanchez says

Spain’s PM Pedro Sanchez acknowledged on Sunday that the COVID-19 outbreak in the country  not only directly killed thousands but also likely increased mortality among those who were suffering from other ailments and failed to get necessary treatment during the crisis.

Spain’s health ministry recognizes over 27,000 confirmed deaths from the new coronavirus. But the Carlos III Institute that runs the government’s mortality observatory has registered more than 43,000 deaths since March above those forecast by models based on mortality in recent years. Also, Spain’s National Institute of Statistics indicates that 48,000 more people have died in Spain in 2020 than during the same period in 2019.

In a nationally televised address, Sanchez said that the ministry’s numbers and the higher numbers of overall mortality from the other government institutes’ were “complementary, not contradictory.” He appeared to say that the discrepancy can be resolved by considering the strong possibility that many chronically-ill people did not either seek or receive their required treatment, or that had the virus but did not die from it directly.

Sanchez defended the transparency of his government, which posts daily and detailed counts of the deaths and infections reported by regional health authorities that run the health care system on a local level.

The 27,000 registered deaths correspond to patients who tested positive for the virus before passing away. People who died without having had a test are not included. Spain’s government says that they are following guidelines established by the WHO just like other member countries.

Authorities in Italy, with over 33,000 deaths confirmed by tests, have also acknowledged that the pandemic had precipitated the death of critically ill patients, such as those with cancer, who might have well died from causes other than the virus.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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