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This Nation Now Claims a Global Worst for COVID

After criteria for coronavirus deaths expanded, Peru finds out it has worst mortality rate per capita
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2021 7:53 AM CDT

(Newser) – Last month, researchers determined that the global death toll from the coronavirus is double what's been reported thus far. Now, one country's recalculations have bestowed upon it a depressing statistic. After figuring out this week it can tack 100,000 more COVID deaths onto its official count, Peru is now the nation with the worst mortality rate from the virus per capita in the world, reports the Washington Post. The number of deaths tied to the virus jumped from just under 70,000 to 180,000, per the BBC, which notes the country has suffered from 1.9 million cases overall. Taking into account the 33 million people who live in Peru, that comes out to 5,484 deaths per 1 million people, according to an AFP count cited by Medical Xpress. The next closest nation is Hungary, with 3,077 deaths per million.

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Before the figures were updated, Peru ranked 13th in the world in terms of COVID mortality per capita. The criteria for the stats—adjusted based on the advice of an expert panel made up of World Health Organization experts, as well as those from public and private health institutions in Peru—were expanded so that COVID deaths would include not only those patients who'd tested positive for the virus, but also "probable" cases with "an epidemiological link to a confirmed case," or who'd shown "a clinical picture compatible with the disease." Godofredo Talavera, who heads up the Peruvian Medical Federation, tells the BBC that Peru is suffering due to an inadequate health-care system that's left the country short of vaccines, oxygen, and ICU beds. Experts add that testing resources have also been lacking. (Read more Peru stories.)

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