On Friday, August 7, the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) declared that the number of coronavirus victims has surpassed 350,000. “Over 350,000 people have died of the novel coronavirus in 547 cities checkered across all of Iran’s 31 provinces as of Friday afternoon local time, August 6,” the PMOI/MEK stated.
This is while the government and health officials constantly downplay the real number of fatalities, hiding their horrible mismanagement during the pandemic. On the same day, the Ministry of Health and Medical Education announced that 93,086 people have lost their lives to the Covid-19, which is tantamount to a fourth of the stats provided by the opposition.
However, according to the ministry’s statement, the number of Covid-19 fatalities on August 6 was the highest official stat in the past 101 days. “Some 458 patients infected with Covid-19 lost their lives in the past 24 hours, and total fatalities reached 93,086,” the official IRNA news agency cited the Health Ministry’s statement.
“Currently, there are 285 cities in the code-red status, 110 in the code-orange status, and 53 are in code-yellow status,” the statement added, revealing the dire coronavirus condition across the country.
Several days ago, on August 2, Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi warned about an increase in the death toll in the coming days. “Forecasts conducted by a U.S.-based university shows that in the news six weeks our Covid-19 death toll will reach around 600 per day, and maybe even 800,” Mehr news agency quoted him as saying.
A day later, Payam Tabarsi, the head of the Epidemiology Section of Tehran’s Masih Daneshvari hospital and a member of the National Covid-19 Task Force, challenged official statistics. “The corrected coronavirus daily death toll is 700 to 800,” Fars news agency quoted him as saying.
Back in July 2020, then-President Hassan Rouhani quoted a report provided by the Health Ministry’s Research Deputy. “We estimate that about 25 million Iranians have contracted this virus so far… We should consider that nearly 30 to 35 million others will be exposed to the virus,” he said on July 18, 2020.
— Iran News Update (@IranNewsUpdate1) July 18, 2020
Notably, at the time, Iran’s death rate was 5.12 percent based on international statistics, meaning at least 1.28 million people had died of Covid-19. However, the official death counts stood on 14,000 fatalities.
A day later, Massoud Mardani, a senior member of the National Covid-19 Task Force, said, “Twenty-eight million Iranians have contracted coronavirus, but 85 percent of infected people are without symptoms,” Fars quoted him as saying.
#BREAKING #Iran, #CoronavirusOutbreak
Massoud Mardani, epidemiologist & member of National #COVID19 HQ said, "Now, 28M Iranians have contracted #coronavirus, but 85% are without symptoms. Given the health apparatus's weakness, there will be many death tolls if 35M contracted. pic.twitter.com/o7TKQ9PXX8
— Iran News Update (@IranNewsUpdate1) July 19, 2020
Nonetheless, footages provided from hospitals and statements raised by the deans of medical sciences universities display the conditions are far more critical than what is said by the health ministry. Recently, a video from a hospital in Tehran showed how medical staffers have placed patients in Covid-19 branches without standard distancing.
“We have no serum or medicine. I do not care about officials’ decisions, but I have sworn. I tell the truth even it costs to my dismissal,” said a physician.
On the other hand, the country faces a severe shortage in health forces, pushing physicians, nurses, and other healthcare forces to tolerate additional pressure. In the past 17 months, more than 14,000 nurses have contracted coronavirus, and more than 200 of them have died.
In such circumstances, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei prohibited the import of reliable Covid-19 vaccines from the U.S., the UK, and even France. He practically exposed millions of lives to risk based on outdated thoughts.
However, Khamenei indeed exploits the health crisis to quell social protests, dissidents say. In other words, to prevent further demonstration, Iranian officials do not curb the virus cognition. Instead, they aided in to spread of the virus with their unscientific decisions and misleading statements. They have yet to apply a complete lockdown despite professionals’ constant warnings and the growth rate of the death toll in various provinces.
Officials also wasted a massive amount of national resources to produce the seven different kinds of ‘domestic vaccine’ rather than procuring reliable vaccines through COVAX and other known organizations. The government also refused to permit the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) organization to hold a temporary clinic in Isfahan city. Tehran also refused U.S. humanitarian aids and vaccines.
Furthermore, the ayatollahs provided low-price electricity for Chinese companies to mine cryptocurrency in several regions in Iran, leading the country to severe power outages, which claimed the lives of many critical patients who were on ventilator support.
According to Basra Governor, in southern Iraq, the Islamic Republic sends tons of liquid oxygen for Iran-backed militias in Iraq. This is while Covid-19 patients in Iran lose their lives to the shortage of oxygen.
In a nutshell, not only have authorities in Iran done nothing to counter the pandemic, but they are to blame for transferring the virus from China to Iran, shortages in hygienic and health items, spreading the virus among citizens, and falling more than 350,000 Iranians victim to the viral disease. They used the coronavirus as a human shield to save the power and saw it as an opportunity as Khamenei described the virus as a “blessing” at the beginning of the crisis in March 2020.