An Iranian Doctor Tells How The Government Is Covering Up COVID Deaths
I had the opportunity to ask questions of a doctor currently practicing medicine in Iran and dealing with the COVID crisis there. The interview below has been edited for clarity and to protect the doctor’s identity.
Is the government being honest with the Iranian people about COVID in Iran?
First of all, I should inform you that I am Dr. [name withheld], a doctor from the city of [name withheld] in the province of Khorasan in eastern Iran, a supporter of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran and that I have twenty years of medical experience in this province.
In response to your question, I must say that after the Corona [i.e., COVID] pandemic, the field of health services of the Iranian people was handed over to the intelligence and security organizations of the regime, and they carefully manipulated the statistics regarding the mortality and the number of cases of the Corona patients. So, to understand the correct statistics we must rely on the knowledge of epidemiology.
The simplest way is to look at the mortality statistics of previous years. Comparing 2019 with 2020—that is, during the first year of the Corona epidemic—we find that the death number has increased by about 220,000 compared to the previous year. And in 2021, in the first half of the year, the death toll was 200,000. This means the mortality has increased compared to the first six months of the year 2020. That is, the daily death rate without the Corona epidemic was 1,100; during the first year after the epidemic, this number was close to 1,800 people; and, in the second year of the Corona, it reached 2,500 deaths. The daily death toll was due to the actual mortality statistics, which reveals the inaccurate official (government) mortality statistics. This deviation from reality is obvious. We call it engineering statistics by the government.
If not, does the physician have a sense of the real COVID death numbers in Iran?
Yes, the actual statistics of Corona mortality are reported by doctors and other medical professionals. That is why the ruling regime fired 1,400 famous Iranian doctors. Then, an IRGC doctor took over the management of the medical system, filtered the medical staff. and banned Iranian doctors from providing any information about Corona patients to news agencies.
Of course, the People’s Mujahedin Organization (MEK); whose supporters are very active inside Iran, has been continuously giving the actual death toll from the Corona pandemic to the international community and the news media; thus exposing the ruling regime’s lies. MEK’s last report says that the actual death toll has passed 460,000 now.
How are Iranian doctors treating COVID patients?
The treatment of patients with Coronavirus is in accordance with the protocols of the World Health Organization (WHO), and Iranian physicians follow exactly the defined standards of treatment for such patients.
The increase in the mortality rate of patients with Coronavirus is mostly due to the late start of mass vaccination which, with a delay of six months compared to other countries, caused the formation of two waves of the disease in Iran. This delay was transferred to the medical system and exerted extra pressure on the medical staff; otherwise, doctors had no role in the increase of mortality.
According to the WHO, Iranian physicians are highly ranked among the physicians in the world, and the Iranian medical education system is very capable and familiar with the latest technologies in the world. Doctors work completely in the field of expert and scientific treatment.
If there are a lot of COVID cases, what is happening to medical care for other illnesses?
There are 140,000 hospital beds in Iran with 10,000 for intensive care cases. During the Corona epidemic, 40,000 beds were initially allocated to the Corona patients. In the fourth and fifth waves, we saw the need for more beds.
In the fourth wave, 50,000 beds were required to cope with the COVID patients and, in the fifth wave, 70,000 beds. That is why, during the fifth wave, even the prayer halls of some cities and some hotels were used for treating COVID patients. During the peak of the fifth wave, the shortage of intensive care beds caused some CCUs (intensive care units for heart patients) to be assigned to the Corona patients. The exact number is not known, but it is estimated that 500 CCU beds were allocated to these patients.
Another problem was the provision of oxygen ventilators. Due to the shortage of beds, many patients were told just to stay home. We have no exact statistics for these deaths.
Finally, what does the physician think we in America should know?
The Iranian regime took advantage of the Corona epidemic to curb and calm the mass protest that had been widespread before the Corona pandemic and which threatened the ruling regime.
By order of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, they did not import credible vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), while other countries were competing to get the vaccine. This delay in providing the vaccine actually caused a massacre of the Iranian people.
The bloody protests of November 2019, in which about 1,500 people were shot dead at the streets by security forces and the Revolutionary Guards, and the downing of a Ukrainian plane in December 2019 which cause another widespread protest inside Iran, had in fact brought the regime to a critical point in confrontation with the Iranian people. Unfortunately, the Corona pandemic caused these mass protests against the government to weaken and lose its strength.
Otherwise, maybe by now, the people could have toppled the regime.
Cyrus Yaqubi is a Research Analyst and Iranian Foreign Affairs Commentator investigating the social issues and economy of the Middle East countries in general and Iran in particular.
Image: COVID ward in Iran. YouTube screen grab.
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