During the corona pandemic, from January 2020 to December last year, 18.2 million more people died than during a period without corona. According to official figures published by governments, there are 5.9 million.
The new figures come after research by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle, which was published in the journal The Lancet. “Our findings indicate that the full effects of the pandemic are much greater than official statistics suggest,” said epidemiologist and author Haidong Wang.
According to the researchers’ models, 120 per 100,000 people worldwide died from corona, but in 21 countries, the excess mortality was more than 300 per 100,000 inhabitants. The highest rates were found in the Andean countries of South America (512 deaths), Eastern and Central Europe (345 and 316, respectively), and Sub-Saharan Africa (309). On the other hand, according to the researchers’ estimates, in some countries, such as Iceland and Australia, fewer people died in the two pandemic years than could be statistically expected.
The large differences between the registered and actual deaths are probably due to missing diagnoses, too few tests and problems with infections.
However, it is still unclear how many people have succumbed to an infection and how many to the indirect consequences of the pandemic. “Studies from multiple countries, such as Sweden and the Netherlands, show that Covid-19 is the cause of most excess mortality, but so far, we have insufficient evidence for most regions,” said study leader Wang.
For their research, the scientists had weekly or monthly data on the number of deaths in 74 countries and 266 states or provinces during the corona period and the previous 11 years. Then, with the help of statistical models, they estimate the excess mortality in countries for which they had no figures.