Global COVID-19 death toll may be 3 times higher
The COVID-19 epidemic may have killed 18.2 million people worldwide, more than three times the reported deaths, according to a report in The Lancet medical journal. There is a huge disparity in the death toll recorded by different government sources, the study revealed. It claimed that the figures mentioned in the study represent a "better approximation" of the real worldwide fatality count until 2021.
- A section of the media has accused governments all over the world of concealing the true COVID-19 deaths.
- Scientists, however, stated that discrepancies between official counts and researchers' estimations might be due to a lack of testing, difficulties in reporting, or an inability to obtain healthcare owing to the pandemic's disruption of services.
- This disparity is greatest in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The study is based on "excess fatalities," which the authors believe, were caused directly or indirectly by the pandemic. These are derived by comparing the number of fatalities documented from all causes to the number of deaths predicted based on prior patterns. "The mortality impact from the pandemic has been more devastating than documented by official statistics," The Guardian quoted a co-author as saying.
The data of mortality from all causes has been gathered by the team in 74 nations and territories. For nations that do not publish such statistics, it employed a statistical model to predict death rates. While the number of documented deaths from the virus is 5.9 million between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021, the global excess deaths might have been 18.2 million.
The study claims that the findings will help researchers analyze the responses of different countries to the virus. Notably, the highest mortality was reported in Andean Latin America (512 deaths per 100,000 population), eastern Europe (345 deaths per 100,000), central Europe (316 deaths per 100,000), southern Sub-Saharan Africa (309 deaths per 100,000), and central Latin America (274 deaths per 100,000), the Nature reported.
The global all-age rate of excess mortality due to COVID-19 was 120.2 deaths per 100,000 of the population, and the excess mortality rate exceeded 300 deaths per 100,000 of the population in 21 countries, said the study in The Lancet. South Asia (5.3 million), North Africa and the Middle East (1.7 million), and eastern Europe (1.4 million) had the highest excess deaths, it added.
The five highest estimated excess mortality rates per 100,000 people were seen in Bolivia (734.9), Bulgaria (647.3), Eswatini (634.9), North Macedonia (583.6), and Lesotho (562.9).
According to the statistics, India witnessed the highest number of extra fatalities owing to COVID-19 (4.07 million) than any other country. India was followed by the United States (1.13 million), Russia (1.07 million), Mexico (7,98,000), Brazil (7,92,000), Indonesia (7,36,000), and Pakistan (6,64,000). The report's predicted extra COVID-19 fatalities (1,63,000 to 1,74,000) for the UK were similar to the published total of 1,73,000.