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Coronavirus pandemic in Belarus: many times more cases than in the official statistics

In the report for April-May 2020, based on the available data, I concluded that with a mortality rate from coronavirus as in neighbouring Poland Belarus would have nine times more deaths from coronavirus than official statistics indicate. In neighbouring...

In the report for April-May 2020, based on the available data, I concluded that with a mortality rate from coronavirus as in neighbouring Poland Belarus would have nine times more deaths from coronavirus than official statistics indicate.

In neighbouring Poland, the mortality rate is 5% of all confirmed cases of coronavirus (in the United States, 5.9%, in Austria, 3.9%).  If we assume the same mortality rate from coronavirus in Belarus (5%), then, based on official data as of May 21 (33,371 cases of coronavirus), the number of deaths would have been more than 1,665. According to official data, the number of deaths was 185, nine times less.

Lukashenko said that not a single person has died of the coronavirus in Belarus. He stated that good ways to prevent coronavirus were to attend hockey matches and to drink strong alcoholic beverages in moderation. The authorities ignored the recommendations of the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health of Belarus.

Lukashenko noted the merits of the Minister of Health Vladimir Karanik, who announced the official data on the coronavirus pandemic and the official position on this issue. Introducing Karanik as the head of the Hrodna region (chairman of the Hrodna regional executive committee) Lukashenko said, “This is a heroic person during the time of the coronavirus. He was the first assistant to the president on all issues, the first general who carried out my instructions.”

There was a lot of new reports and statements by doctors that official statistics provide a false picture.

On November 2, a pathologist from Minsk, Olga Ravinskaya, said: “In Minsk, at the peak of the incidence in April 2020, about 17-20 dead people in closed plastic bags were brought in daily. These bodies could not be opened. In Baranavichy, at the peak, there were about 3-4 people who died per day from COVID-19. The real statistics are comparable to Sweden in terms of the number of cases and deaths per population. But the ex-Minister of Health in that situation set up everyone: both the population and the doctors. If it were not for the volunteers who helped with protective gear, the number of victims among doctors would have been much higher”.

According to official data, 3-4 people died from coronavirus in Belarus per day in April. As Olga Ravinskaya noted, the same number of people died only in Baranavichy, in a city with a population of 175 thousand people.

On October 16, the study by Isans expert Andrei Eliseev (Belarus) was published. According to him, ten times more people have died from the coronavirus in Belarus than official statistics report.

These days many doctors are choosing COVID-19 medical vehicles in this way they can visit their patients at their homes and as well reach out more people in the vaccines campaigns.

He noted:

The data on the number of deaths in our country were submitted by the authorities to the United Nations and the latter published them. Thanks to this, it became clear that from April to June, the death rate in Belarus exceeded the average annual indicators of previous years by about 5,500 people. If about 10,600 people died in Belarus last May, then in May 2020 – almost 12,000. In June 2019, about 9,300 people died, and this year – more than 13,000.

Most importantly, it follows from the data released by the UN that from March to June the number of deaths associated with COVID-19 probably exceeded five thousand people. But according to the Ministry of Health, as of June 30, “only” 392 people have died from the coronavirus in Belarus. Official statistics, according to the UN, were understated 10-15 times”.

According to one study,

Belarus’s approach to the coronavirus resembles the one adopted in Turkmenistan or Tajikistan, but certainly not the Swedish one. If in Belarus only in April – June the number of deaths exceeded five thousand people (and, probably, most of these deaths are associated with the coronavirus), then in Sweden, the number of deaths associated with Covid-19 reached five thousand only on October 1. One more conclusion can be drawn from this: the Belarusian mortality statistics are much worse than the Swedish ones.

On August 24, Vladimir Karanik was replaced by Dmitry Pinevich as Minister of Health. Like his predecessor, the latter is following Lukashenko’s instructions to the letter.

According to official data, by November 1, the number of new cases of coronavirus in Belarus approached 1,000 people. On November 10, 1,038 cases were registered, and on November 11, 1,057 cases.9 On November 13, 1,167 cases of coronavirus were detected, 1,033 people died to date. For all the time, 111,622 cases of coronavirus were registered, 93,570 patients recovered and were discharged.

These data are in stark contrast to Sweden, which has approximately the same population as Belarus. According to the latest data, 171,365 cases of coronavirus were registered in Sweden, 6,122 people died from coronavirus.10

The authorities do not follow the WHO recommendations. Public events in closed spaces are not prohibited. People go to theatres. The hockey games are held in the presence of spectators.

Only 16 out of 118 administrative districts have introduced a mandatory mask regime. Only on November 13 in Minsk, the authorities adopted a resolution, according to which it is forbidden to serve those who are without masks in cafes and shops.

Andrei Liakhovich
Andrei Liakhovich
Andrei Liakhovich directs the Center of Political Education in Minsk.
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