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July 29, 2020

Iran, unlike other countries, is experiencing higher fatality during second Covid-19 surge due to healthcare and welfare inequalities

By GlobalData Healthcare

Iran is currently experiencing a second surge of Covid-19 cases since its first surge in early May. The number of daily deaths during Iran’s second surge is considerably higher than its first surge and is also higher compared to other countries. This could be due to prolonged pressure on Iran’s healthcare system, as well as inequalities in healthcare access and social security. During their second surge, countries that have high inequalities in healthcare and welfare systems display a higher fatality rate, defined as the number of confirmed deaths divided by the number of individuals diagnosed with Covid-19.

Because the Iranian government lifted lockdown measures early, the SARS-CoV-2 virus spread further in the country. Similarly, the number of daily confirmed cases in the US has been increasing after a slow decline (Figure 1). In the US, the outbreak epicentres have shifted from the northern regions to be located in the south of the country. There was also a shift in Iran, but the epicentres moved from central provinces toward poor and remote regions. Now, the pandemic in Iran has taken every corner of the country.

Trends in the US and across the globe show that the number of daily confirmed deaths peaked during the first wave, then started to decline despite the increasing number of confirmed daily cases (Figure 1). This is likely due to healthcare systems being taken by surprise at the beginning of the pandemic, but slowly adopting practices to control the outbreaks. Even countries that had no official lockdown, such as Sweden, are showing a constant decline in their number of confirmed deaths. However, the number of daily confirmed deaths in Iran is increasing.

The current trend in Iran can be explained as a result of the healthcare system becoming exhausted since February. Additionally, the pandemic’s shift from central regions toward remote areas where the number of hospital beds and resources are scarce likely resulted in a higher fatality than the first wave. The lack of social security and wealth distribution in Iran has forced elderly and vulnerable people to work in high-risk environments, placing them at more risk. GlobalData epidemiologists expect to see an unstable and increasing number of daily confirmed deaths in Iran.

Figure 1: Covid-19 Trends in Daily Confirmed Cases and Deaths in Iran

Credit: GlobalData.

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