‘Significant undercount’ of Covid-19 death tolls, WHO says

Geneva, May 21 (EFE).- The number of global deaths linked directly or indirectly to Covid-19 are likely to be “significantly undercounted,” the World Health Organization said Friday.

The official number of deaths in 2020 was estimated at 3 million, but the WHO said the real number could be double or triple, meaning 6 to 8 million people could have died so far.

“Available evidence from the countries with rapid mortality surveillance systems suggests that in many locations the reported number of COVID-19 deaths is a significant undercount of the full toll of the pandemic,” WHO’s World Health Statistics report read.

“At the time of writing, more than 160 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3.3 million deaths had been reported to the WHO. Yet these numbers are only a partial picture, as many countries have not been able to accurately measure and report on deaths that are either directly or indirectly attributable to COVID-19,” it added.

In the Americas, the real number of deaths would be between 1.1 and 1.5 million, compared to the 900,000 officially reported.

In Europe, 600,000 deaths were reported, but between 1.1 and 1.2 million people could have died.

“The challenge is that the reported COVID-19 (death toll figures) is an undercount of that full impact,” WHO data analyst, William Msemburi, said.

Official reports give an incomplete picture of the situation because many people died before being officially diagnosed with Covid-19, Msemburi added.

Indirect Covid-19 deaths include those caused by lack of hospital capacity or restriction of movement.

The Americas and Europe are the regions that provided the most complete information on mortality rates at the national level in 2020.

Only 40% of countries register at least 90% of deaths and their causes, which indicates the undercounted deaths during the pandemic, the WHO report added.


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