OVIEDO, SPAIN: With an additional 551 deaths tallied since yesterday, Spain’s official Covid-19 death toll has reached 19,130, Spain’s Health Ministry said Thursday.
But the central government’s death count does not include data reported last night by the government of Catalan, which includes Barcelona, home to some 5.6 million people.
On Wednesday, Catalonia began to include data from funeral services to calculate the total Covid-19 death toll. The new methodology nearly doubled the region’s total death count and includes 1,810 more deaths in nursing homes, 62 from a social health centre, and 456 people who died at home.
China sees drop in imported coronavirus cases but local infections rise
The government of Catalonia now reports 7,097 total Covid-19 deaths, up from 3,756 the day before.
If this were included in the central government records, Spain would now have at least 22,300 deaths, a significant rise.
Previously, as is still the case in most of Spain, Catalonia only officially counted the deaths of people who died in hospitals and had taken a test that confirmed they had Covid-19.
All Spanish regions have been asked to send more complete data on deaths to Spain’s central government. Fernando Simon, Spain’s chief epidemiologist, said yesterday he is still waiting on some regions before the central government can publish the complete data.
Countries and regions across the world count Covid-19 deaths differently.
New York and France, for instance, changed their methodologies to include people who died outside of hospitals, which caused numbers to shoot up drastically.
Italy, which does not count deaths in places like nursing homes, has counted 21,645 Covid-19 fatalities. The US currently has the most official deaths in the world – nearly 27,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Spain, with a population of 47 million, has the world’s highest per capita death rate.
Spain’s data was also affected this week by the widespread introduction of antibody tests. These rapid blood tests show if a person has built up antibodies against the virus, but does not specify whether a person is newly infected or if they contracted the virus months ago.
G20 agrees debt freeze for world's poorest countries
That partially explains why on Thursday Spain counted around 5,000 new contagions both today and yesterday. In total, 182,816 people have been confirmed to have the disease. Nearly 75,000 people have recovered.
Spain has been under a strict lockdown for more than a month. This week, some sectors like construction and manufacturing resumed after a two-week freeze, but Spanish residents are still confined to their homes unless leaving for essential tasks. Unlike most countries, outdoor exercise is forbidden.