The death toll from coronavirus in Germany could be higher than the official death count, the country’s disease control agency said on Thursday.
Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, Prof. Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), said unexplained extra deaths, the so-called “excess deaths”, have increased recently in the country.
“We assume that the deaths [from COVID-19] have been more than the officially recorded,” he said, but also underlined that the institute needed more detailed statistics to reach a reliable conclusion, which could be possible within the next few months.
Wieler pointed out some of the deadly complications of the virus were only recently discovered, which could explain why official statistics could not capture all COVID-19-related deaths in the past few months.
Germany’s coronavirus death toll reached 6,228 as of Thursday morning, while the number of confirmed cases rose to 159,119, according to the Robert Koch Institute, which uses official data submitted by federal states.
Almost 123,500 patients have recovered from the disease, according to the institute.
After originating in China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 186 countries and regions. Europe and the US are currently the worst-hit regions.
The pandemic has killed more than 228,000 people, with total infections exceeding 3.2 million, while nearly 986,000 have recovered so far, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the US.