21 May 2021
Up to three times more people have died due to the pandemic than indicated by the officially reported Covid-19 deaths, the World Health Organization has said.
In 2020, it found there had been at least three million excess deaths due directly or indirectly to Covid-19, while the official number of Covid-19 deaths was 1.8 million at the end of the year.
“We are likely facing a significant undercount of total deaths directly and indirectly attributed to Covid-19,” the WHO said.
It officially estimates that around 3.4 million people have died directly as a result of the pandemic by May 2021.
“This number would truly be two to three times higher. So I think safely about 6 to 8 million deaths could be an estimate on a cautionary note,” said Assistant Director-General Samira Asma,
WHO data analyst William Msemburi said that this estimate included both unreported Covid-19 deaths as well as indirect deaths due to the lack of hospital capacity and restrictions on movements among other factors.
“The challenge is that the reported Covid-19 [death toll figure] is an undercount of that full impact,” Mr Msemburi said.
The WHO did not give a breakdown of the figure, referred to by health experts as “”excess mortality”.
Published at www.rte.ie