DOH defends high fatality rate mentioned in November global COVID-19 recovery report

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 8) — Technical problems in reporting coronavirus deaths led to a ballooning of Philippine fatality data in November in the Nikkei COVID-19 Recovery Index released this week, the Department of Health explained on Wednesday.

A report on Monday by Nikkei Asia showed the country improved its ranking from 103rd to 57th in the index, which measures a government’s pandemic response towards recovery. However, despite better infection numbers, Nikkei pointed out that the “short-term case fatality rate stands at over 9% — the second highest in the world, according to Our World Data.”

DOH said the country's case fatality rate (CFR) was markedly lower than the 9% that was reported. It said that of the 2,096 deaths reported from Nov. 18 to 27, only 16% actually occurred in November. Eighty percent of the deaths occurred from August to October.

COVID-19 deaths need to be verified by local health officers before they can be sent to the COVIDKaya data storage system.

"The high reported deaths in this latter part of November 2021 was due to delayed encoding, validation, and reporting of death information to COVIDKaya," it said in a statement.

It added the country’s case fatality rate as of December 7 is at 1.61% — below the global average of 2%.