WHO released data showing COVID-19 deaths are three times higher than initially reported. Between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021, 14.9 million people worldwide have died due to COVID-19. Only 5.4 million COVID-19 deaths were reported to WHO during the listed time frame. However, there were 9.5 million more deaths that weren’t reported.
“Excess mortality is the difference between the number of deaths that have been recorded and those that would be expected in the absence of the pandemic,” said Samira Asma, assistant director-general for the Data, Analytics and Delivery for Impact Division of WHO.
Numbers Present By WHO
According to the methodology used in the WHO report, the estimated range of excess deaths was 13.3 to 16.6 million over the 24 months. The total deaths included “deaths directly attributed to Covid-19 that were reported to WHO, deaths directly attributed to Covid-19 that were not counted or reported…deaths indirectly associated with the pandemic due to the wider impact on health systems and society,” Asma explained.
In the U.S., by December 31st, 2021, the number of excess deaths was 932,458. Additionally, the estimated number of deaths ranges from 886,917 to 978,225. This is about 100,00 more deaths in the U.S. reported.
“Knowing how many people died due to the pandemic will help us to be better prepared for the next,” Asma said at a news conference Thursday, adding, “We need to honor the lives tragically cut short, lives we lost, and we must hold ourselves and our policymakers accountable.” She continued, “When we underestimate, we may underinvest. And when we undercount, we may miss targeting the interventions where they are needed most, and this also deepens inequalities.”
The reports show about 57% of the excess deaths were men, and 82% were people above 60. Nearly 70% of the excess deaths were mainly in ten countries. Those countries include Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, and the United States.
These numbers are incredibly alarming and show how hard the pandemic hit the world. We hope these numbers better prepare us to get through the pandemic.