The Spanish government´s chief medical advisor in charge of releasing updates on coronavirus in Spain has admitted that “the real number of deaths is difficult to know” amid a sharp rise in the bodycount.
The Director of the Centre of Coordination of Alerts and Sanitary Emergencies of the Ministry of Health, Fernando Simon, made the comments when explaining that the number of deaths registered in the northeastern region of Catalonia had jumped from 3,855 to 7,097 on Wednesday.
Simon said the sudden jump in numbers was due to a new methodology being used which took into account figures from undertakers, care homes and individual homes.
He said: “We have to discuss what those new cases coming from the undertakers or elderly centres mean, because we are not sure if they had a previous coronavirus diagnosis or not.”
The new data includes, for the first time, figures from undertakers of 1,810 deaths in care homes for the elderly, 62 in social and health care centres, and 456 in private homes.
The rest of the rise comes from deaths in medical centres or cases which are “not classifiable due to a lack of information”.
Simon said “it is true that if those new cases have the definition of a (coronavirus) case, they will have to be considered” in the total number of cases.
He added: “The real number of deaths from coronavirus is difficult to know. Now in Spain, all the infected who died and all those who have tested positive are being counted. The Health Ministry is not the one generating the information, as it is generated in the health services of the different regions.”
Official figures from the Health Ministry show 6,877 deaths from COVID-19 in the capital Madrid, but this only includes deaths in hospitals, those who had tested positive for the virus or those with a clinical diagnosis.
Reports state that another 2,820 elderly people with symptoms had died in care homes, with another 616 suspected sufferers dying at home and four in the street.
According to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University, Spain has registered 184,948 cases of COVID-19, with 19,315 deaths.