COVID Death Toll ‘Two To Three Times’ Higher Than Official Figures: WHO

From last year itself, doubts have been cast in several quarters over the official figures of COVID-19 death toll. Now, even the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that there’s likely to have been a “significant undercount” in the number of victims claimed by the coronavirus pandemic. The real count could be “two to three times” higher.

The WHO, in its annual World Health Statistics report, estimated that total deaths could be around 6 to 8 million globally, whereas the official count puts it at around 3.4 million.

“We are likely facing a significant undercount of total deaths directly and indirectly attributed to Covid-19,” the global health body said.

Since the WHO declared coronavirus as a global pandemic in March last year, a total of 1.8 million deaths were reported in 2020. By May 2021, WHO statistics showed around 3.4 million people had died globally. The real figure, however, could be much higher, WHO stated.

WHO’s Assistant Director-General in its data and analytics division Samira Asma assessed that the death toll “would truly be two to three times higher,” considering the rising toll in Latin America and Asia as new variants are spreading fast.

“So I think safely about 6 to 8 million deaths could be an estimate on a cautionary note,” Asma told a virtual press briefing.

WHO data analyst William Msemburi explained that the raised estimates included both unreported COVID deaths as well as indirect deaths like patients not seeking healthcare for other conditions due to lack of hospital capacity and restrictions on movements.

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