(Reuters) - The true death toll from the coronavirus pandemic may be more than three times higher than official records suggest, researchers said.
Instead of the official estimate of 5.9 million COVID-related deaths, a more realistic estimate is 18.2 million, according to a report in The Lancet. Researchers compared data from 74 countries and territories collected from January 2020 through December 2021 with data collected during the previous 11 years. On average, among every 100,000 people worldwide, there were 120 deaths that would not have been expected had the pandemic not occurred, they estimated.
The highest estimated excess death rates were in Andean Latin America (512 deaths per 100,000), Eastern Europe (345 deaths per 100,000), Central Europe (316 deaths per 100,000), Southern sub-Saharan Africa (309 deaths per 100,000), and Central Latin America (274 deaths per 100,000). The United States and the UK had an estimated 179 and 127 excess deaths per 100,000, respectively. Some countries, including Iceland, Singapore and Australia, appeared to have had fewer deaths than expected.
The highest numbers of estimated pandemic-related deaths were in India (4.1 million), the United States and Russia (1.1 million each), Mexico (798,000), Brazil (792,000), Indonesia (736,000), and Pakistan (664,000).
"Further research will help to reveal how many deaths were caused directly by COVID-19, and how many occurred as an indirect result of the pandemic," study leader Haidong Wang of the University of Washington in Seattle said in a statement.
SOURCE: https://bit.ly/3KFzmr8 The Lancet, online March 10, 2022.
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