Deaths due to Covid-19 pandemic much higher than reported figures, study shows

Photo via อนุทิน ชาญวีรกูล (Public Health Minister)

The Covid-19 death toll is much higher than what has been officially reported, according to a recent analysis published in The Lancet, a medical journal. The analysis estimates that the global number of fatalities related to the Covid-19 pandemic reached 18.2 million by December 31, 2021, which triples the number of deaths reported at 5.94 million.

The findings were based on excess mortality, which the World Health Organisation says is the difference between the total number of deaths in a crisis compared to those expected under normal conditions. This also accounts for the number of deaths that were indirectly attributed to Covid-19, like the disruption of essential health services due to the pandemic. The analysis in the Lancet notes that more research is needed to help distinguish the proportion of excess mortality that was directly caused by Covid-19 infection.

The full impact of the pandemic has been much greater than what is indicated by reported deaths due to Covid-19 alone. Strengthening death registration systems around the world, long understood to be crucial to global public health strategy, is necessary for improved monitoring of this pandemic and future pandemics.

The number of excess deaths due to Covid-19 was largest in the regions of south Asia, north Africa and the Middle East, and eastern Europe, according to the analysis in the Lancet.

For Thailand, as of the end of 2021, the country reported a total of 21,700 Covid-related deaths. The analysis estimated around 35,200 excess deaths in Thailand from January 2020 to the end of 2021.

SOURCE: The Lancet

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