WHO: Nearly 15 million people died from Covid-19 in two years

WHO estimates the Covid-19 pandemic has killed nearly 15 million people in 2020 and 2021, three times the number reported by countries and regions.

“New estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) show that the number of deaths directly or indirectly related to the Covid-19 pandemic from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2021 is about 14.9 million. “, WHO said today.

This is the long-awaited WHO estimate of the total number of deaths due to the pandemic, showing the wide impact of the global health crisis. This figure calculates what is known as the Covid-19 excess mortality rate, which has affected much of the world for more than two years.

“These sobering data not only show the impact of the pandemic, but also show that all countries need to invest in a more resilient health system to be able to maintain essential health services during this time.” crisis, including stronger health information systems,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The excess mortality rate is calculated as the difference between the number of people who died and the number of deaths expected in the absence of a pandemic, based on data from previous years. Excessive mortality includes deaths directly and indirectly related to Covid-19.

Volunteers prepare to cremate the body of a person who died of Covid-19 in India in May 2021.  Photo: Reuters.

Volunteers prepare to cremate the body of a person who died of Covid-19 in India in May 2021. Image: Reuters.

The WHO declared Covid-19 an international public health emergency on January 30, 2020, after a case appeared outside of China. Countries around the world have reported to WHO 5.42 million deaths from Covid-19 in 2020 and 2021. The number of reported deaths is now 6.24 million, including 4-month deaths. early 2022.

The WHO has long said the true number of deaths would be much higher. Deaths indirectly related to the pandemic are those that cannot access treatment because the health system is overwhelmed by the crisis.

According to WHO, most of the excess deaths, or 84%, are concentrated in Southeast Asia, Europe and the Americas. 10 countries alone accounted for 68% of all excess deaths.

High-income countries account for 15% of excess deaths, while in middle-income countries it is above 28%, low-middle is more than 53% and low-income is 4%.

The number of deaths from Covid-19 globally is higher among men than women, with 57% in men and 43% in women. The number of deaths is also higher among the elderly.

“Evaluating excess mortality is an essential part of understanding the impact of the pandemic,” said Samira Asma, WHO assistant director-general for data, analysis and distribution. “These new estimates use the best data available and were generated using a robust methodology and a completely transparent approach.”

According to WHO, the 14.9 million figure was put forward by the world’s leading experts who have developed methods to make estimates in the absence of data.

Many countries do not have the capacity to reliably record deaths, thus not generating the data necessary to calculate excess mortality, but can be calculated using a public methodology. declare. WHO will hold a press conference today to explain the new calculation.

Huyen Le (Theo AFP)

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