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The ‘unknown pneumonia’ in Kazakhstan could actually just be COVID-19, WHO says

Reports surfaced about an ‘unknown pneumonia’ in Kazakhstan, which could be the novel coronavirus

SHARE The ‘unknown pneumonia’ in Kazakhstan could actually just be COVID-19, WHO says
In this handout photo released by Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre (GCTC), Roscosmos space agency, the Soyuz MS-15 space capsule carrying International Space Station (ISS) crew members descends beneath a parachute just before landing in a remote area near Kazakh town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Friday, April 17, 2020.

In this handout photo released by Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre (GCTC), Roscosmos space agency, the Soyuz MS-15 space capsule carrying International Space Station (ISS) crew members descends beneath a parachute just before landing in a remote area near Kazakh town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Friday, April 17, 2020.

Associated Press

The World Health Organization said Friday that the “unknown pneumonia” reported in Kazakhstan could actually be cases of COVID-19, BBC News reports.

Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s emergencies program, said the pneumonia cases might be missed coronavirus infections.

“The upward trajectory of COVID-19 in the country would suggest that many of these cases are in fact undiagnosed cases of COVID-19,” Ryan said, according to BBC News.

On Thursday, the Chinese Embassy in Kazakhstan said there were cases of an “unknown pneumonia” that was deemed deadlier than the coronavirus, as I wrote for the Deseret News. This disease had killed more than 1,700 people in the country.

Less than a day later, Kazakhstan denied reports of the virus’ deadliness. The Kazakstan health ministry said Friday that there were “viral pneumonias of unspecified etiology” in the country, according to CNN. But the country said the outbreak is not new or unknown.

Doctors and family members of victims in Kazakhstan told BBC News that they thought the increased numbers of pneumonia were connected to COVID-19.

In fact, they told BBC News that the cases went undetected because of bad testing and, in some cases, no testing at all.

Venera Zhanalina said her father died after visiting the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms, according to BBC News.

“In the death certificate, it said pneumonia as the cause. But we don’t even know if they tested him on coronavirus.”

There is some concern that Kazakhstan might classify the deaths as pneumonia because they want to keep the COVID-19 numbers low. But the WHO said the country was classifying deaths as COVID-19 confirmed cases.