The World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Thursday that almost three times as many people have died globally due to Covid, as the official reported data show.
The newest, most comprehensive report by WHO suggests that at least 14.9 million people have died of Covid, as opposed to the originally reported 5 million, saying “there were 14.9 million excess deaths associated with COVID-19 by the end of 2021.”
The official count of deaths directly linked to COVID-19 and reported to WHO in that period, from January 2020 to the end of December 2021, is slightly more than 5.4 million, a figure that is now being considered underreported.
The new figures released by the WHO report include people who died of Covid, as well as people who died as an indirect consequence of the global pandemic. This includes people who were unable to access adequate healthcare in time due to the hospitals being overwhelmed with an influx of Covid patients.
The report also accounts for deaths averted during the pandemic, for reasons such as lower traffic, and hence lower risk of traffic accidents.
However, it said that another reason the new numbers are far higher than the official tally is because countries also underreported or inaccurately reported their death tolls, adding that even pre-pandemic, six in 10 deaths around the world were not reported or registered.
The WHO report also said that almost half of the deaths that until now had not been counted were in India, suggesting that almost 4.7 million people died there as a result of the pandemic, most notably during the May-June 2021 surge.
India’s official death tally was much lower, at 480,00 deaths, and it is now objecting to WHO’s report for not ‘addressing Indian concerns’ over what it terms as ‘questionable methods’.
WHO says it has not yet examined the latest data put forth by India, but is willing to put a disclaimer on the report highlighting the on-going conversation with India.