DOH: Recent high number of COVID-19 deaths due to data harmonization, late reporting


Posted at Feb 05 2021 05:07 PM

DOH: Recent high number of COVID-19 deaths due to data harmonization, late reporting 1
Funeral home workers carry a coffin to their vehicle after delivering a cadaver that is reportedly a COVID-19 case to a crematorium in Quezon City on April 2, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA— The Department of Health (DOH) clarified on Friday that the high number of COVID-19 deaths recorded in the past few days did not all occur within that reporting period.

In a virtual forum, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the reported figures were the result of data harmonization with the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The DOH recorded a total of 864 deaths from Jan. 23 to Feb. 4, 2021, but Vergeire admitted that a large number of these deaths were recorded last year.

“Seventy-four percent were deaths from March to October 2020, the rest would be from parts of November, December and some [in] January. Hindi po ito nagre-reflect ng actual deaths on this current period,” she explained.

(The reported daily figures do not reflect the actual deaths in this current period.) 

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Data from the health department showed that the months of July and August last year and January this year recorded the most number of deaths with 218, 221 and 186 fatalities, respectively.

ABS-CBN News first reported about the trend on Jan. 28, when it found that almost 40 percent of the additional COVID-related fatalities between January 20 to 27, 2021 occurred on July and August. 

There were even a few late reports from March to May, 2020, 15 in June and more than 20 fatalities each from September to December. 

Thursday, however, saw a figure of 55 COVID-19 deaths, making it the 6th consecutive day when the daily tally counted over 50. The 2.07% case fatality rate for the day was also found to be the highest in 6 months, according to data analyzed by ABS-CBN News. 

The country’s death toll on Friday breached the 11,000-mark after the DOH logged 61 more fatalities. 

— Reports from Raphael Bosano and Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News