JUST SWELL

Saudi MERS Deaths Higher Than Recorded

Turns out the virus sweeping through the Middle East and popping up in the U.S. has actually been more fatal than previously believed. Saudi Arabia announced a nearly 50 percent jump in Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) deaths after re-examining old data. In Saudi Arabia, the mortality rate from the virus has now jumped to 41 percent. The new analysis also shows that total cases of MERS were one-fifth higher than previously recorded. Many public-health experts have accused Saudi Arabia of not handling the MERS crisis well and failing to collaborate with other countries and institutions. Still, the country’s health administrators are working hard to calm people’s fears. In an emailed statement, Tariq Madani, head of the health ministry’s scientific advisory board, said “While the review has resulted in higher total number of previously unreported cases, we still see a decline in the number of new cases reported over the past few weeks.”