Health dept debunks claim COVID-19 deaths in PH higher than reported

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 02 2022 05:09 PM

 Funeral service workers wearing protective gear bring a citizen, who died while being investigated for COVID-19 symptoms, to a crematorium specifically dealing with coronavirus cases in Quezon City. Rolex dela Pena, EPA
Funeral service workers wearing protective gear bring a citizen, who died while being investigated for COVID-19 symptoms, to a crematorium specifically dealing with coronavirus cases in Quezon City. Rolex dela Pena, EPA


MANILA - The Department of Health said Wednesday it "debunks" a group's claim that the Philippines' COVID-19 deaths were double than what was being reported.

The Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines had cited the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), which it said recorded more than 105,000 total COVID deaths versus the 54,054 reported by the DOH as of Monday.

Data of the DOH and the PSA do not match as the health agency verifies reported COVID-19 deaths and does not consider incidental cases or those hospitalized for a different cause but when tested yielded a positive result, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Local governments sometimes do not put the correct immediate and underlying causes of death, Vergeire said.

"We are debunking this allegation. Yun pong difference ng PSA number of deaths at DOH, mula't mula pa po ng pandemya, pinapaliwanag na po natin sa ating mga kababayan," she told reporters.

"Ito pong DOH data is the official numero ng pagkamatay dahil sa COVID because our data is being cleaned, being validated. Whatever we report is exactly kung sino ang namatay dahil sa COVID at hindi incidental ang finding na may COVID siya."

(The DOH data is the official number for COVID-19 deaths because our data is being cleaned, being validated. Whatever we report is exactly those who died due to COVID and not an incidental finding that they had COVID.)

The DOH is coordinating with the PSA to "harmonize" its data, Vergeire added.

"We are trying to harmonize our systems and process with the Philippine Statistics Authority para eventually po magtutugma na tayo (we will be in sync) and they can also adopt the validation process that DOH is doing," she said.

The DOH announced Wednesday afternoon that total COVID-19 deaths in the country stood at 54,097 after an additional 43 were recorded over the last 24 hours.

The Philippines' first coronavirus-related death was logged on Feb. 1, 2020 in a Chinese man who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged.

Video courtesy of Department of Health