SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Dutch family doctors are being asked to register deaths which they think may be due to coronavirus in an effort to improve the accuracy of figures currently being reported.
The public health institute RIVM only reports the number of people who die after testing positive for coronavirus, and figures from the national statistics office CBS indicate the true death toll may be double the official one.
The current official coronavirus death toll stands at just over 2,800. ‘We see a lot of patients at home and in nursing homes which we suspect [have coronavirus] but who are not tested because there is no point in a hospital admission,’ doctor and Maastricht University professor Jochen Cals said.
‘But these people are not appearing in the statistics.’ By adding potential cases to the register, health experts will have a better idea of the impact of coronavirus on society and will be better able to take a decision about relaxing some of the social distancing measures currently in force in the Netherlands.
‘Every family doctor has their own list of possible coronavirus deaths,’ Cals said. The team behind the new registration drive hope to be able to publish their first figures in the coming week.
The information will be collected via the platform ZorgDomein, which 90% of doctors currently use to exchange information.