Home Covid News and Updates WHO anticipates 14.9 million more COVID-related deaths in 2020 and 2021

WHO anticipates 14.9 million more COVID-related deaths in 2020 and 2021

by Pragati Singh

According to new WHO estimates, the total death toll related directly or indirectly to the COVID-19 pandemic between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2021 was roughly 14.9 million (range 13.3 million to 16.6 million).

“These sobering statistics not only highlight the pandemic’s impact but also highlight the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “The World Health Organization is committed to collaborating with all countries to strengthen their health information systems in order to generate better data for better decisions and outcomes.”

Excess mortality is computed as the difference between the number of fatalities that have happened and the number that would be predicted if the pandemic had not occurred based on data from previous years.

“Excess mortality includes deaths caused directly by COVID-19 (as a result of the disease) or indirectly (as a result of the pandemic’s influence on health systems and society.” Deaths associated with COVID-19 indirectly are attributable to various health issues for which individuals were unable to receive preventive and treatment due to the pandemic’s overburdening of health systems, according to a news release issued by the WHO.

The projected number of additional deaths may also be impacted by deaths avoided during the pandemic as a result of decreased risks of specific occurrences like motor vehicle accidents or occupational injuries.

The majority of the extra fatalities (84%) occur in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Sixty-eight percent of all excess deaths occur in just ten countries around the world.Middle-income countries account for 81% of the 14.9 million extra deaths over the 24-month period (53% in lower-middle-income countries and 28% in upper-middle-income countries), with high-income and low-income countries accounting for 15% and 4%, respectively.

Excess mortality is broken down by age and gender in the estimates over a 24-month period (2020 and 2021). They confirm that the worldwide mortality toll was greater for males than females (57% male, 43% female) and higher among older people.

The absolute number of extra fatalities is influenced by population size. The number of extra fatalities per 100,000 people provides a more impartial view of the epidemic than the COVID-19 mortality statistics.

“Excess mortality must be measured in order to fully comprehend the pandemic’s impact.” Changes in mortality patterns offer decision-makers with knowledge that may be used to design policies that reduce mortality and successfully avert future catastrophes. Because many countries have made little investments in data systems, the full degree of excess mortality is frequently disguised. “Dr. Samira Asma, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Data, Analytics, and Delivery, agreed.” “These revised projections are based on the best available data and were created using a robust methodology and a totally transparent approach.”

Every day, data serves as the cornerstone for our mission to promote health, keep the globe safe, and protect the disadvantaged. We know where the data gaps are, and we must collectively increase our support to countries so that every country can track outbreaks in real time, ensure the delivery of essential health services, and protect population health. ” Dr. Ibrahima Soce Fall, Assistant Director-General for Emergency Response, made the statement.

These estimates are the outcome of a worldwide effort, which was aided by the work of the Technical Advisory Group for COVID-19 Mortality Assessment and national consultations.

This committee, organised jointly by the WHO and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), is made up of several of the world’s finest specialists who devised an innovative approach for generating comparative mortality estimates even when data is partial or missing.

This technique has proven useful since many nations still lack accurate mortality surveillance capability and, as a result, do not collect and create the data required to compute excess mortality. Countries can develop or update their own estimations using the publicly accessible methodology and their own data.

“The United Nations system is working together to deliver an authoritative assessment of the global toll of lives lost from the pandemic.” “This work is an important part of UN DESA’s ongoing collaboration with WHO and other partners to improve global mortality estimates,” said Liu Zhenmin, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.

Stefan Schweinfest, Director of UN DESA’s Statistics Division, added: “Data shortages make determining the full magnitude of a disaster difficult, with major ramifications for people’s lives. The epidemic has served as a sharp reminder of the need for improved data system coordination within nations, as well as enhanced international funding for the development of stronger systems, including the recording of deaths and other critical occurrences.”

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