Underreported deaths study: possibly three times as many Corona deaths as registered worldwide

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Nearly 6 million deaths were recorded in the first two years of the pandemic. However, according to a recent study, there may be three times as many Corona deaths worldwide as officially registered – around 18 million.

Official: More than 6 million corona deaths

The pandemic may have claimed many more lives worldwide than previously assumed. According to a current study in the scientific journal “The Lancet, “18.2 million more people died between January 2020 and December 2021 than would have been expected in years without the pandemic. Officially, only 5.9 million Corona deaths are recorded in this period.

“Our results suggest that the full impact of the pandemic was much greater than official statistics suggest,” writes the international team of researchers led by Haidong Wang of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle in the article.

According to the modeling, 120 out of every 100,000 people worldwide died due to corona, and in 21 countries, this excess mortality rate exceeded 300. The scientists found the highest rates in the Andean countries in Latin America (512 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants), in Eastern (345) and Central Europe (316), and Sub-Saharan Africa (309). In some countries such as Iceland or Australia, on the other hand, according to the estimates, even fewer people had died in the pandemic years than would have been statistically expected.

Reasons: Missing diagnoses due to lack of tests and unreported numbers

The sometimes significant differences between the registered and the actual number of deaths are presumably due to missing diagnoses because of inadequate tests and problems in reporting the numbers. How many people have died directly from the disease caused by the virus, and how many from indirect consequences of the pandemic. “Studies from several countries, including Sweden and the Netherlands, suggest that Covid-19 was the direct cause of most excess deaths, but we currently do not have enough evidence for most regions,” says study leader Wang.

Excess mortality: the difference between the number of actual and statistically expected deaths

The scientists had compiled weekly or monthly data on the number of deaths from 74 countries and 266 states or provinces – such as the German provinces – from the pandemic years 2020 and 2021 and up to 11 years before. The difference between the number of actual and statistically expected deaths is the excess mortality. With the help of statistical models, they also estimated the excess mortality for countries from which no data on the number of fatalities was available.

  • sources: vienna.at/APA/picture: pixabay.com
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