By Ilda.Hoxha

On January 20, 2022, the former Health Minister and current DP Member of Parliament, Mr. Tritan Shehu, posted on his Facebook page that 21 thousand people had lost their lives in Albania due to the epidemic as of September 2021. Faktoje checked the data on “The Economist” and “Eurostat”, finding that the number of lives lost from June 2020 to September 2021 was 11 thousand instead of 21 thousand.

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“Covid, a two-year tragedy that cannot be concealed. In Albania, there have been 21 thousand deaths due to the epidemic as of September 2021, Eurostat reports”, writes Tritan Shehu on Facebook.

Post of the democrat member of parliament, Tritan Shehu, on Facebook, January 20, 2022

How accurate are these figures stated by the democrat member of parliament? Faktoje conducted a search and review of the figures reported on “The Economist” and “Eurostat”, to determine the number of deaths in Albania as a consequence of Covid, as well as additional deaths from June 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021

According to “The Economist”, the officially-reported number of lives lost due to Covid-19 for the aforementioned period is 2660, while additional deaths amount to 11,220.

Data table, screenshot from “The Economist”

In the latest publication, Eurostat data report 11,768 additional deaths during the pandemic period in Albania. Thus, according to Eurostat data as well, in the 15 months corresponding with the Covid pandemic period, there have been over 11 thousand additional deaths in our country.

Screenshot of Eurostat data

Screenshot of Eurostat data

Based on the data from the two credible sources, additional deaths in our country during the pandemic total more than 11 thousand, and no publication includes the data reported by member of parliament Tritan Shehu that there have been 21 thousand deaths in Albania due to the epidemic.

In an article posted on November 2021, referring to INSTAT figures, Monitor reported that since April 2020, when the pandemic wave marked the first consequences in Albania, until late September 2021, there were approximately 11 thousand additional deaths in the country compared with the average of the corresponding 2016-2019 periods. Further, the article reports that the most severe wave of the pandemic was in late 2020 and early 2021.

Since the pandemic started (on March 19, 2020, when the first death was reported) until September 30, 2021, the MoH reported 2698 lives lost from Covid-19.

Meanwhile, the data reported on January 25 by the Ministry of Health, show that, since the start of the pandemic, 3,317 people have died in the country due to Covid.

We contacted Mr. Tritan Shehu on WhatsApp to ask him about the source on the number of deaths he had claimed, as our verification found discrepancies with the data published by Eurostat and “The Economist”.

“You can find it over different media. Several data sources have regularly reported this increasing trend and the loss of lives. Even those in Brussels. If I were to look, I would find them. For example, in the first 9 months of 2021, there were over 7000 more deaths. If we account for two years, 24 months, and especially considering the high mortality in 2020, the total would amount to that. There are also data on other periods that I have also made reference to on several occasions. Thank you”, stated Mr. Tritan Shehu’s reply to Faktoje.

Based on the conducted verification and the checking of sources referred to by Mr. Shehu in his post, we determined his claim to be untrue.