Several thousand more people have died of covid-19 in the Netherlands than were captured by official tallies, the country’s statistical agency said Thursday.

Health authorities had attributed just over 6,400 fatalities to the virus as of Wednesday. But Statistics Netherlands (CBS) said that actually just between March and June, 10,607 can be linked to covid-19, according to Reuters, indicating that the total toll by now is even higher.

The agency said that it had uncovered the discrepancy after studying the excess mortality rate, which showed that the total number of deaths from all causes rose by approximately 9,000 from early March to early May, compared with previous years. That sharp uptick coincided with the first wave of coronavirus infections in the Netherlands and much of Europe.

“Based on the received cause of death statements, it now appears that the excess mortality was entirely caused by death from the new coronavirus,” CBS said Thursday, according to the NL Times.

After reviewing the data further, the agency confirmed that 7,797 fatalities were linked to a confirmed diagnoses of covid-19, Reuters reported. In 2,270 other cases the virus was the most probable cause of death. The official count likely fell short because positive tests did not get reported to health authorities, CBS said.

The Netherlands is now witnessing a second surge of infections, setting a record when over 3,000 new cases were reported on Tuesday. The increasingly dire situation prompted the government to recommend wearing masks in public this week, after months of opposition that made the Netherlands one of the few remaining countries to insist that face coverings were unnecessary and ineffective.

The Washington Post

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