What is beyond the sharp rise of deaths in Egypt?


Egypt recorded the first death of Covid 19 infection in March 2020. Later on, the deaths continue reaching over 16 thousand deaths in July 2021, what is considered by the Egyptian ministry of health as a success in combating the pandemic when the figure is compared to the figures of other countries. Notwithstanding, doubts were raised over the statistics made by the Egyptian government, which refused to conduct enough tests for the suspected and excluded them from registration. In response, the government said that deaths cannot be hidden and it is not useful for the government to hide them if they occurred. Skeptical did not have evidence on a suspected rise of deaths of Covid 19, until the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics issued an official report revealing an increase of total deaths in Egypt in 2020 with 16.8% compared to 2019, which is a sharp rise not recorded previously.

According to CAPMAS, Egypt recorded 666 thousand deaths in 2020, when Covid 19 hit, compared to 570 thousand deaths in 2019. Over the first 6 months of 2021, 383 thousand citizens died, compared to 333 thousand over the same period of 2020, and 292 thousand deaths over the same period of 2019. In addition, deaths in 2020 increased by 16.8 compared to 2019, and deaths in the first half of 2021 increased by 14.9% compared to 2020. the report revealed that such sharp rises are unprecedented since 2007 when the CAPMAS started its statistics.

The following table shows the deaths number and the annual increase/decrease rate since 2011 and onwards:

Year Death numbers Annual rate
2011 493 thousand 2%
2012 529 thousand 6.9%
2013 511 thousand -3.4%
2014 532 thousand 3.9%
2015 574 thousand 7.3%
2016 556 thousand -3.1%
2017 547 thousand -1.6%
2018 560 thousand 2.4%
2019 570 thousand 1.8%
2020 666 thousand 16.8%
2021 (six months) 383 thousand 14.9%

The government has no explanation

Unlike the previous reports, CAPMAS presented its report without explanation of the sharp rise of deaths, which the report itself described it as “a big change”. Egypt Watch talked to doctor Amr Gamal, manager of a public hospital in Egypt, who said that the sharp rise is closely linked to Covid 19. “The ministry of health condition a positive PCR to register a death as a Covid 19 death,” Gamal explained. “Moreover, it conditioned this PCR be conducted in a governmental laboratory.”

Doctor Sherif Moussa, doctor-in-chief of Esna Specialist Hospital, told that the true number of deaths due to Covid 19 is much higher than the registered. “Nasal swabs for PCR were not enough to conduct the test for all the suspected and some patients died before providing the test for them,” said Moussa.

Not only lay citizens, but even medical staff, including physicians, died of Covid 19 without being registered. The Egyptian Medical Syndicate complained of the governmental denial of rights of 200 hundred doctors, who died of Covid 19 but did not have PCR. The government refused to give the doctors’ families their financial dues and pensions. Accordingly, it is supposed that the government worked on restricting registration of deaths in order to avoid lockdown measures that could shake the Egyptian fragile economy and repel tourists, who represent a main resource of foreign cash for the Egyptian government.