The World Health Organization reported on Thursday that the total number of deaths due to Covid have been severely underreported across the globe.
Most of the deaths occurred in 2021, when overall deaths that year were roughly 18 percent higher that the statistical average— an extra 10 million people — than they would have been without the pandemic These are classified as “excess deaths” and help experts calculate the true toll from Covid. Not all were the direct result of the virus itself; some were due to the fact that the pandemic made it more difficult to get medical care for ailments such as heart attacks, diabetes and cancer. The previous figure, based solely on death counts reported by countries, was six million.
Among the various countries, the W.H.O. found that in Mexico, the excess death toll during the first two years of the pandemic was twice as high as the government’s official reported count of Covid deaths. In Egypt, excess deaths were roughly 12 times as great as the official Covid toll. In Pakistan, the figure was eight times as high.
Those estimates were calculated by a global panel of experts assembled by the W.H.O., who set out to fill in the many gaps in reported deaths.