Earlier this week, the WHO estimated that nearly 15 million people were killed either by coronavirus or by its impact on overwhelmed health systems during the first two years of the pandemic, more than double the current official death toll of over 6 million.
According to a report by the World Health Organization, most deaths occurred in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The U.N. health agency’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, described the calculated figure as “sobering,” saying it should prompt countries to invest more in their capacities to quell future health emergencies.
The estimated 15 million toll came after WHO tasked scientists with determining the actual number of COVID-19 deaths between January 2020 and the end of last year. They estimated that between 13.3 million and 16.6 million people died either due to the coronavirus directly or because of factors somehow attributed to the pandemic’s impact on health systems, such as cancer patients who were unable to seek treatment when hospitals were full of COVID patients. Based on that range, the scientists came up with an approximated total of 14.9 million.
On the other hand, scientists at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington calculated in a recent study published in the journal Lancet that there were more than 18 million COVID deaths from January 2020 to December 2021. A team led by Canadian researchers estimated there were more than 3 million uncounted coronavirus deaths in India alone. WHO’s new analysis estimated that missed deaths in India ranged between 3.3 million to 6.5 million.