Posted: Thursday December 10 2020 20:47
The director of the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies, Fernando Simón, assured this Thursday that if the difference of 3,700 deaths in the first wave that the INE figures show compared to those of the ministry “is not minimum “, the taken decisions would not have varied.
“Obviously it is not small, but that does not change the extent of the risk and the decision-making would not have varied”, he replied during his usual press conference on Thursday to the question. on statistics published today by the INE which amount to 45,648 those who died from coronavirus between March and May between identified and suspected cases.
More specifically, the National Institute of Statistics counted 32,652 deaths with the “identified” virus against more than 28,000 that the Ministry of Health then notified – which included in its calculation only those who died with a PCR positive- and 13032 with the “suspect” virus. Thus, the difference between those identified and those which were notified by the communities to the surveillance network is a little more than 3,600, differences which “they expected” in Health.
“It’s hard to talk about over 3,000 deaths, but these are numbers that were more or less within the margin and error estimates we used,” said the epidemiologist, for whom the statistics from INE show that the epidemiological surveillance system “was sufficiently precise, although not timely enough that we would have liked, so that the decision-making was not biased by the difference in deaths”.
Thus, and if the difference may seem striking, “from the point of view of the management of the epidemic, it was not going to change the way in which decisions were made”, abounded. “When the debate erupted in April on excess deaths, we already commented that the INE data is the one that would give the most realistic view of the lethality of the disease and the mortality relative to the population. “, he recalled.
Simón preferred to be “much more careful” with the number of suspects, because “it is possible” that they died of coronavirus, but also that they did it for other causes. In fact, this group has a higher median age than those identified, which implies that they were “more fragile” people, so that the reason for their death “is more difficult to attribute to the virus”.