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Cemetery in Peru. Archive photo.
Cemetery in Peru. Photo: Archive

Peru triples its official COVID death toll, becomes the worst country in the world per capita

Peru has been one of the countries in Latin America most-affected by COVID-19. The true death toll was underestimated, partly due to lack of evidence.

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After a review of the official figures of deaths due to COVID-19, the Government of Peru announced on Monday, May 31 that there was triple the estimated death data, confirming 180,764 deaths and thus, becoming the country with the worst mortality rate per capita according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

With hospitals overcrowded with patients, the demand for oxygen exceeding availability, not to mention the prices to acquire it and the high costs of private clinics, the country's situation got out of control to the point of not being able to collect accurate data.

Experts warned for a long time that the real number of deaths was being underestimated in the official statistics.

Peru has been among the Latin American countries most affected during the pandemic.

While Brazil has the highest death toll in the region with more than 450,000 lives lost, Peru's per capita death toll is now more than double that of Brazil.

Despite the rapid response of the government of Martin Vizcarra at the onset of the pandemic and the speed with which in recent months the transitional government of Francisco Sagasti worked on a vaccination campaign, Peru is undoubtedly among the Latin American countries most affected by the virus.

The difference between the death figures they handled before the latest review is due in part to a lack of testing that made it difficult to confirm whether a person had died from the virus or from another cause.

"We believe it is our duty to make this updated information public," said Peru's Prime Minister Violeta Bermúdez during a press conference announcing the outcome of the review.

According to the Johns Hopkins data and with the updated death toll, Peru now stands at more than 500 deaths from COVID-19 per 100,000 people.

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