LIMA, Peru -- Peru on Monday announced a sharp increase in its COVID-19 death toll, saying there have been more than 180,000 fatalities since the pandemic hit the country early last year.
The announcement was made in the presidential palace during the presentation of a report by a working group commissioned to analyze and update the death toll. The results of the study put the new toll at 180,764 in a population of about 32.6 million, compared to recent data indicating that 69,342 people had died from COVID-19.
Ugarte said that previously only those who “had a positive diagnostic test” were considered to have died from the virus, but other criteria have since been incorporated.
On Monday, the coronavirus monitoring site of Johns Hopkins University was reflecting the previous figure of just under 70,000 deaths in Peru.
Questions about Peru’s death toll surfaced soon after the beginning of the pandemic. Scenes of cemeteries filling up with new burials and and hospitals buying refrigerated containers to act as makeshift morgues suggested the situation was far worse than the official data showed.