the pandemic of coronavirus COVID-19 It caused between 13.3 and 16.6 million deaths from January 2020 to December 2021, that is, a figure much higher than that officially registered, according to calculations by the World Health Organization (WHO) released this Thursday.
These highly anticipated figures allow us to have a truer idea of the reality of the devastating effects of the worst pandemic the world has experienced in a century and that continues to cause thousands of deaths every week.
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“New data from the World Health Organization shows that the total balance directly or indirectly associated with the covid-19 pandemic between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021 is 14.9 million deaths (with a margin between 13.3 and 16.6 million)”the institution said in a statement.
Since the start of the pandemic, the figures of the member countries gathered by the WHO gave a total of 5.4 million deaths from covid-19 In these two years, but for a long time, the UN institution had warned that these figures were far from being real.
“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.”, declared the director general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
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This excess mortality has been calculated by making the difference between the number of real deaths in that period and the number of deaths considered normal without a pandemic, based on existing statistics.
The WHO launched its alert on COVID-19 on January 30, 2020, weeks after detecting the first cases in China.
This excess mortality includes deaths caused directly by the disease and those caused indirectly, due to the blow that the pandemic dealt to health systems and society in general.
The indirect causes of Covid-related deaths may be due in particular to health structures that are overloaded and forced, for example, to delay surgical procedures or chemotherapy sessions for cancer patients.
The WHO stated that most of the excess deaths (84%) were concentrated in Southeast Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Some ten countries alone represent 68% of the total excess mortality.
High-income countries accounted for 15% of excess deaths versus 28% for upper-middle income countries and 53% for lower-middle income countries. Regarding low-income countries, they represented 4%.
The number of deaths in the world was higher in men than in women -57% men, 43% women- and higher in the elderly.
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“Measuring excess mortality is an essential component to understand the impact of the pandemic”, he explained Samira Asthmain charge of the file at WHO.
More reliable information makes it easier for those responsible to better prepare the ground to limit the impact of future crises.
“These new calculations are based on the best available data produced with the help of a solid methodology and a completely transparent study.“, he pointed.
The issue is very sensitive due to the political repercussions of these figures, related to the quality of the crisis management by the authorities.
The WHO indicated that it relied on a group of recognized experts in their field who perfected a methodology that facilitates extrapolation in cases where the data is insufficient or incomplete.
Many countries lack the means to collect reliable data on mortality and therefore cannot rely on the lessons of excess mortality data.
The methodology of the experts of the WHO You can avoid that obstacle.