More than 3 million excess deaths in 2020 could be related to Covid-19 – over a million more deaths than what was reported globally, according to preliminary data from the World Health Organization.
“Preliminary WHO estimates suggest the total global excess deaths attributable to Covid-19, both directly and indirectly, amounts to at least 3 million in the year 2020,” according to WHO’s World Health Statistics 2021 report published Friday. “This is 1.2 million more than the reported 1.8 million global Covid-19 deaths.”
The report says that preliminary assessments of excess mortality estimate that during 2020, there were 1.34 to 1.46 million excess deaths in the region of the Americas and 1.11 to 1.21 million in the European region. This is 60% more than the reported deaths in the Americas and double the reported deaths in the European region.
WHO points out there are “significant data gaps” in the other regions: the African region, Eastern Mediterranean region, Southeast Asia region and the Western Pacific region, with only 16 of the 106 member states that make up these regions have enough data to calculate 2020 excess mortality empirically.
Excess deaths provide “a more accurate picture of the full impact of the pandemic as it accounts for both the total COVID-19 deaths directly attributable to the disease as well as the indirect impacts of the pandemic and responses to it, such as travel restrictions,” the report says.
The report describes the 3 million excess deaths as coming from a “tentative extrapolation of the results from the Americas Region and the European Region.” It also notes that further data collection and additional statistical modeling is needed to refine the estimate.