The WHO estimates 15 million direct or indirect deaths from covid

Funeral home workers move a coffin. / Eph

Excess mortality is prevalent in countries with low-middle income while men represent 57% of deaths

Alvaro Soto

The covid-19 pandemic has caused an excess mortality in the world of 15 million people, according to an estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO) released this Thursday. Specifically, the international institution calculates that between 13.3 and 16.6 million people died directly or indirectly from covid-19 between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021.

The WHO estimate is triple the official figures for each country added together, 5.4 million, according to data collected by governments. Accounting for deaths has been one of the great problems of the pandemic given the impossibility of performing PCR tests on all suspected cases.

Ten countries account for 68% of all excess mortality, and most of the excess deaths (84%) are concentrated in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Deaths in the pandemic have been primed in those countries with low-middle income (53% of deaths). High-income nations have accounted for 15% of excess mortality; those with upper-middle income, 28%, and the low countries, 4%. By sex, men account for 57% of deaths, for 43% of women.

Excess mortality is calculated as the difference between the number of deaths that have occurred and the number that would be expected in the absence of the pandemic based on data from previous years, explains the WHO. Excess mortality includes deaths associated with covid-19 directly (due to the disease) or indirectly (due to the impact of the pandemic on health systems and society). The deaths indirectly linked to covid are attributable to the inability to access prevention or treatment of other diseases due to the overload of health systems due to the pandemic.

“These thought-provoking numbers underscore not only the impact of the pandemic, but the need for all countries to invest in stronger health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems. solid," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

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