Geneva (The Times Groupe)- World Health Organization (WHO) estimates COVID19 killed 13.3 to 16.6 million people in 2020 and 2021, more than double the official death toll of around 6 million.
“According to the WHO, the number of deaths directly or indirectly associated with the COVID19 pandemic from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2021 was approximately 14.9 million (range 13.3 million to 16.6 million),” the UN health agency reported on Thursday.
“These sobering statistics demonstrate the impact of the pandemic as well as the need for more investments in more resilient health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including better health information systems,” emphasized WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus.
In the figure, excess mortality is calculated as the difference between the number of deaths and the number that would have been expected in the absence of the pandemic, based on data from previous years.
COVID19-related deaths include those caused directly by the disease as well as those caused indirectly by the pandemic’s impact on health systems.
After cases spread beyond China, the WHO declared a public health emergency on Jan 30, 2020.
WHO reported 5.42 million virus deaths worldwide in 2020 and 2021, a figure that today stands at 6.24 million, including deaths in 2022.
Eighty-four percent of excess deaths occurred in South-East Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and ten countries alone accounted for 68% of excess deaths.
WHO technical officer William Msemburi said the excess estimate represents 9.5 million more deaths, or 2.75 times more than reported.
According to our study, men die at a greater rate than women worldwide. Hence, 57% of excess deaths are male, and 43% are female,” he said. “We also estimate that this toll is higher among older adults, with 82% of excess deaths estimated to be over 60.”