◆ Fewer elderly people

“City B” in North Hamgyung Province

My inminban is made up of 27 households. Six people, including a child, have died. An average of 2-4 people have died in nearby inminban, while one inminban has suffered more than 5 deaths. The authorities, however, have not ruled that the deaths were due to COVID-19. I think that many of the people who died were already suffering from preexisting illnesses, and the authorities are claiming that the deaths were due to these illnesses.

When people are suspected of having died from COVID-19, the dead bodies are cremated on the government’s dime. I’ve heard the authorities generally announce that the deaths are due to tuberculosis or pneumonia.

The lack of medicine has led to many child deaths. The authorities are supposed to hand out one day’s worth of fever reducers to people with fevers; however, there’s a lack of medicine for children, so they are getting adults-only fever reducers instead. I’ve heard there are children who lose their hearing or can no longer speak because of high fevers that can’t be treated because of the lack of medicine.

A great deal of elderly people have also died. Many died due to the lack of medicine following the lockdown of cities in May. Now they are dying of COVID-19 as well. There’s been a marked decrease of elderly people aged 70 and above seen on the streets.

◆ Officials conceal COVID-19 deaths to avoid responsibility

Nobody trusts the government’s announcements about how many deaths have occurred due to COVID-19. In my view, because provincial party organizations have managed efforts quarantine efforts in each area, cadres have been avoiding taken responsibility for deaths.

The central government is also trying to fool the people. A Central Committee cadre visited “City B” from Pyongyang to manage disease control efforts when the city was locked down. They just claim that people have died of preexisting conditions, not COVID-19, because it would cause problems for them if there’s many COVID-19 deaths. The statistics released by the government is completely different from the reality.

The economy is in very bad shape. Most people live on one or two meals a day, while only rich people eat three meals a day, or at least that’s what people say. People can’t earn money because businesses are suffering, so everyone is just waiting for the state to step in and provide them with food.  (Continued in the next installment )

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