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Global COVID-19 Deaths Could Be Thrice The Official Figures

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Graphic. (U.S. Air Force Graphic by Rosario "Charo" Gutierrez)

The COVID-19 pandemic costs are becoming more apparent as data and studies quantify economic and human costs.

Considering the number of deaths globally from the pandemic, a recent analysis published by Lancet estimates that COVID-19 has taken roughly 18 million lives worldwide, almost three times the official numbers. However, a team of researchers came to this figure using a better approximation of the actual worldwide casualty figure through the end of 2021.

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Many establishments had been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by ThisIsEngineering from Pexels)

Based on their estimation, the researchers said that the actual death toll is much higher than the 5.9 million reported by different official accounts. The figure could cross 18.2 million, almost three times the official figures.

The researchers have indicted official statistics for delayed and incomplete reporting, as well as a lack of data in dozens of nations. The exact death toll is crucial in formulating successful public health decision-making.

Impact Of The COVID-19 Pandemic

The conclusion was reached by a team of researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Seattle, Washington and published by Lancet. First, the team collected causes of death from more than 74 countries. Then, for countries that did not have such data, the scientist relied on a statistical model to calculate mortality estimates.

COVID-19 Aggravated Excess Death

Scientists used a measure known as excess death. Excess deaths mean how many people have died than would be expected in recent years before the pandemic. The study revealed that estimates varied from nation to nation. However, the researchers determined an overall global rate of 120 deaths per 100,000 people.

The figures for a different part of the world was as follows

  • 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
  • Central Latin America 274 deaths per 100,000

Studies revealed that COVID-19 was directly responsible for most of the excess death seen. However, excess death could also be due to the lack of medical facilities and treatment for other diseases precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The IHME study is the first estimate of excess deaths to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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