WHO calculated the total number of redundant deaths in the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to an analysis of the global excess mortality in 2020-2021, the global pandemic killed 14.91 million people.
This estimate is much higher than the registered number of deaths directly caused by the virus during this time – 5.42 million according to official estimates. Excess mortality is estimated to find out the true impact of the pandemic. To calculate this number, compare the number of deaths over a period with the expected number based on historical mortality data and use simulations. The model also takes into account historical differences, such as less traffic and deaths from influenza during a pandemic, according to existing restrictions.
Thus, excess deaths include not only registered deaths from COVID-19, but also unregistered deaths, as well as deaths not directly caused by the virus. The latter include people who have delayed or avoided medical procedures for fear of infection or overload of the medical system by patients with COVID-19.
“These data not only indicate the impact of the pandemic, but also the need for all countries to invest in a more sustainable health care system capable of providing the necessary services during the crisis. Including more powerful health information systems,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General.
Estimates also indicate the countries most affected by the pandemic and the actual death toll. For example, in India, which delayed the release of the WHO analysis for months, it became known about 4.74 million deaths. This is a third of all deaths in the world. Earlier, India reported only 481,500,000 deaths during this period.
In total, only 10 countries accounted for 68% of total deaths: India, Russia, Indonesia, the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Turkey, Egypt and Iran. The analysis also found that COVID-19 killed more men (57%) and more elderly people than young people.