Health

COVID-19 Death Toll May Actually Be Triple What We Thought, WHO Says

(Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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The global death toll inflicted by COVID-19 may actually be three times higher than previously believed, according to a new World Health Organization (WHO) report.

Between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021, there were approximately 14.9 million excess deaths associated with COVID-19 worldwide, according to the WHO. Only 5.4 million COVID-19 deaths were reported to the agency during that time frame, meaning the remaining nearly 10 million deaths included deaths from the virus went unreported, or were deaths caused indirectly by the pandemic’s effects on health care systems and society as a whole.

Excess deaths measure the number of people who died in a given place during a given time period versus the number that would be expected in a normal, non-pandemic environment. Importantly, excess deaths account for a reduction in fatalities as a result of behavioral changes, such as a lower number of deaths in car accidents when people stayed home during lockdowns. (RELATED: Anthony Fauci Seems To Think The CDC Outranks Our Courts)

“These sobering data not only point to the impact of the pandemic but also to the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO. “WHO is committed to working with all countries to strengthen their health information systems to generate better data for better decisions and better outcomes.”

About 70% of the excess deaths were within ten countries, one of which was the United States. 82% were in people above the age of 60.