The Pandemics True Death Toll: Millions More Than Official Counts
Last years Day of the Dead marked a grim milestone. On 1 November, the global death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic passed 5 million, official data suggested. It has now reached 5.5 million. But that figure is a significant underestimate. Records of excess mortality a metric that involves comparing all deaths recorded with those expected to occur show many more people than this have died in the pandemic.
Working out how many more is a complex research challenge. It is not as simple as just counting up each countrys excess mortality figures. Some official data in this regard are flawed, scientists have found. And more than 100 countries do not collect reliable statistics on expected or actual deaths at all, or do not release them in a timely manner.
Demographers, data scientists and public-health experts are striving to narrow the uncertainties for a global estimate of pandemic deaths. These efforts, from both academics and journalists, use methods ranging from satellite images of cemeteries to door-to-door surveys and machine-learning computer models that try to extrapolate global estimates from available data.
Sources: Our World in Data/The Economist/IHME
The uncertainty in this estimate is a discrepancy the size the population of Sweden. The only fair thing to present at this point is a very wide range, says Sondre Ulvund Solstad, a data scientist who leads The Economists modelling work. But as more data come in, we are able to narrow it.
Why Is This Figure Considered More Accurate
The studys authors collected weekly, monthly, or quarterly mortality data from 103 countries and territories from 2015 to 2019 to build a public database theyve called the World Mortality Dataset.
From this, they were able to calculate a baseline figure for the number of deaths each country would expect to have in 2020. This was then compared to the number of deaths ascribed to COVID-19.
“Measuring excess deaths allows us to quantify, monitor, and track pandemics such as COVID-19 in a way that goes above testing and reporting capacity and policy,” Karlinsky and Kobak said in a statement.
“However, until now, there has been no global, frequently updated repository of mortality data across countries”.
Excess mortality – the additional deaths beyond those routinely attributed to factors such as old age, violence, traffic accidents and so on – is widely considered a more objective indicator of deaths attributed to the pandemic.
Its been used as a yardstick to estimate deaths in pandemics and other extreme events like natural disasters as far back as Londons Great Plague in 1665 as well as the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918.
While the study does not include countries like China and India or large swathes of Africa, the dataset does give a more complete picture of Europe, drawing on figures gathered from 43 countries .
Africa: Dramatic Drop Forecast In Covid Deaths But No Time To Sit Back And Relax
COVID-19 deaths in Africa are forecast to decrease by 94 per cent this year compared to last year the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.
Thats down from a catastrophically high average of 970 fatalities each day last year to around 60 a day by the end of 2022.
The low number of deaths expected this year is a huge achievement for the region and a testament to the efforts of countries and partners, WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti told journalists at a virtual press conference.
#COVID19 deaths in the African region are expected to decline by almost 94% in 2022, compared with 2021, the pandemics most lethal year, a new modelling by WHO finds.
WHO African Region
Despite the new WHO modelling projection compared with last year the pandemics most lethal actual cases are estimated to drop by a little over a quarter this year.
However, the job is not yet done. Every time we sit back and relax, COVID-19 flares up again, she cautioned.
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The Number Of Seated Diners In The Uk Has Fallen To Its Lowest Level Since May 2021
Seated diners, seven-day average, percentage compared with the equivalent week of 2019, week ending 24 February 2020 to week ending 20 December 2021, UK, London and Manchester
This is the lowest level since indoor dining reopened in England, Wales and Scotland , and it is the first time numbers have fallen below pre-coronavirus levels since then.
Despite overall retail footfall seeing a 6 percentage point increase on the previous week, it is lower when compared with pre-coronavirus levels .
In the previous week, overall retail footfall was 82% of the level- seen in the equivalent week of 2019.
Shopping centre retail footfall was at 73% of the level seen in the equivalent week of 2019. This is the lowest relative level since the week beginning 25 July 2021.
It follows a previous high of 84% of the level of the equivalent week of 2019, which occurred in the week beginning 24 October 2021.
These lower levels of retail footfall may be because of more cautious behaviour caused by the emergence of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
Countries Forecasted To Have Highest Cumulative Total Deaths
Bulgaria, Bolivia, Lithuania, Eswatini, and Peru. In many of these countries, large numbers of COVID-19 deaths are missing in official statistics. In Bolivia, Lithania, and Eswatini, fewer than 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths have been reported. In Bulgaria, less than 60 percent of deaths are included in official statistics. In stark contrast, most COVID-19 deaths are included in official statistics in Peru the country revised upward its official COVID-19 death estimates in May 2021 based on advice from scientists in Peru and abroad.
Low testing rates help explain the missing deaths. In many countries, a positive PCR testa COVID-19 test that detects genetic material of the virus using a lab technique called polymerase chain reactionis required to record COVID-19 as the underlying cause of death.
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Global Comparison: Where Are Confirmed Deaths Increasing Most Rapidly
Simply looking at the cumulative total or daily number of confirmed deaths does not allow us to understand or compare the speed at which these figures are rising.
The table here shows how long it has taken for the number of confirmed deaths to double in each country for which we have data. The table also shows both the cumulative total and daily new number of confirmed deaths, and how those numbers have changed over the last 14 days.
A tip on how to interact with this table
You can sort the table by any of the columns by clicking on the column header.
Covid World Map: Which Countries Have The Most Coronavirus Vaccinations Cases And Deaths
Covid-19 has spread around the planet, sending billions into lockdown. Find out where the virus has spread, and where it is now most deadly
Since first being recorded in late 2019 in China, the Covid-19 coronavirus has spread around the world and killed millions worldwide.
Having officially been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization at the start of 2020, 2022 marks the third year that the virus has impacted societies.
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What About The Official Covid Death Numbers
The US has recorded the most deaths from coronavirus in the world – over 300,000 more than the next closest country, Brazil.
But the US has a larger population than many other countries.
When you look at the same top 10 countries in per capita terms, the US is below both Brazil and Peru for recorded Covid deaths.
Overall the US ranks 18th in the world in recorded Covid deaths per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
“Short term I think the per capita confirmed death rate is a pretty good indicator” says Justin Lessler, professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina.
“The US is not the highest, but it’s certainly on the higher end.”
Experts say it’s also important to take the average age of a country’s population into account.
“We should compare with countries which have similar age structures as we know Covid has a higher fatality rate in the elderly – so we should compare apples to apples,” says Bhramar Mukherjee, professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan.
When comparing with Spain, UK, and France, as well as neighbouring Canada – developed countries with similarly aged populations to the US – the US has performed worse.
“A lot of the European countries – like the UK, France and Spain – are reasonable to compare, and they’ve had lower per capita death rates. It’s not night and day, but the US is on the upper end of that spectrum,” says Professor Lessler.
Omicron Offers Limited Protection Against Reinfection
New data relating to the pandemic globally, released by WHO on Thursday, suggests that people whove been infected with the Omicron variant can expect limited protection against catching it again.
Latest evidence also suggests that immunity against severe COVID illness is more robust among those whove been infected by the coronavirus and vaccinated against it, than it is for people whove only been infected, or only been jabbed.
The priority for national health agencies should be to vaccinate all adults, focusing on healthcare workers, people with low immunity and older persons, WHO said.
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Where Are Cases Still High
The number of daily cases is stable or falling in most regions. However, Europe is reporting its highest-ever number of daily cases and there has been a recent rise in cases in North America.
A number of countries are seeing a rapid rise in a new Covid variant, named Omicron by the World Health Organization and categorised as a “variant of concern”.
The WHO says Omicron has now been identified in at least 89 countries – and is spreading significantly faster than the Delta strain.
Early studies suggest that Omicron is more transmissible or better able to evade vaccines but further evidence is needed to confirm these findings.
Asia, which was the centre of the initial outbreak that spread from Wuhan in China in early 2020, has seen cases falling in recent weeks.
In India, where the number of new daily cases has fallen dramatically since May, the official death toll is almost 480,000 and it has recorded about 35 million cases – second only to the US.
The World Health Organization has warned that Europe is once again “at the epicentre” of the Covid pandemic and could see half a million more deaths by February.
The WHO gave this warning before the emergence of the Omicron variant, which, along with the increase in Delta infections, has prompted several European countries to increase the scale of their vaccine and booster campaigns.
The new Omicron variant has also led to the UK and the EU tightening travel restrictions.
How Is The Disease Progressing Around The World
Larger countries tend to have higher numbers of both cases and deaths. But there are many other factors in play, such as the demographic profiles of the countries countries with ageing populations may be hit harder because the disease is more dangerous to older people. Countries that have imposed social distancing restrictions, as well as those with advanced vaccination campaigns, have managed to avoid some of the worst peaks recorded around the world.
Case rates the daily cases per million people in any country show how many European countries faced new highs in infection during last winter.
The disease has caused tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths in many countries, hitting the US, Brazil, India, Mexico and Russia with particular cruelty in terms of total deaths.
And while most countries experienced the first wave of infections in a similar fashion, albeit at different times, new variants are for now changing the way different areas are suffering from further waves.
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Covid Map: Coronavirus Cases Deaths Vaccinations By Country
Covid-19 is continuing to spread around the world, with nearly 280 million confirmed cases and more than five million deaths across almost 200 countries.
The US, India and Brazil have seen the highest number of confirmed cases, followed by the UK, Russia and Turkey.
Very few places have been left untouched.
The Countries With The Highest Covid
Little more than 15 months into the coronavirus pandemic, Brazil passed a grim milestone on Sunday. The most populous nation in South America became only the second country in the world to surpass half a million COVID deaths. That is according to official figures at least, as it is widely expected that India’s official death toll of roughly 390,000 is a drastic undercount. Estimates for India’s true COVID losses range from 600,000 up to 4.2 million deaths, as the official Indian case number of just under 30 million infections is estimated to undercut the true count by hundreds of millions due to a lack of widespread testing and poor reporting/tracking.
As the following chart shows, the U.S. has been hit hardest by the pandemic in terms of total lives lost. As of June 20, 2021, COVID deaths in the United States amounted to just over 600,000, ahead of the aforementioned Brazil and India. The fact that Colombia and Peru have joined the list of the worst affected countries emphasizes Latin America’s role as the world’s new COVID hotspot. As of June 21, Paraguay, Suriname, Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina were the countries with the highest number of daily deaths per million, with the former three currently seeing death rates higher than the U.S. did at any point of the pandemic.
This chart shows the countries with the highest number of deaths from COVID-19.
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Cases And Deaths By Region
Reporting standards vary enormously in different countries. No statistics are particularly accurate, but case and death rates in India and Sub-Saharan Africa in particular are probably much higher than reported.
|Oceania and islands in East Asia||9,300,969|
|New identified cases of COVID-19 weekly for top 7 regions in the world.|
|Deaths due to COVID-19 weekly for top 7 regions in the world.|
Confirmed Deaths And Cases: Our Data Source
Our World in Data relies on data from Johns Hopkins University
In this document, the many linked charts, our COVID-19 Data Explorer, and the Complete COVID-19 dataset we report and visualize the data on confirmed cases and deaths from Johns Hopkins University . We make the data used in our charts and tables downloadable as a complete and structured .csv, .xlsx and json file here on our GitHub site.
The Johns Hopkins University dashboard and dataset is maintained by a team at its Center for Systems Science and Engineering . It has been publishing updates on confirmed cases and deaths for all countries since January 22, 2020. A feature on the JHU dashboard and dataset was published in The Lancet in early May 2020.2 This has allowed millions of people across the world to track the course and evolution of the pandemic.
JHU updates its data multiple times each day. This data is sourced from governments, national and subnational agencies across the world a full list of data sources for each country is published on Johns Hopkinss GitHub site. It also makes its data publicly available there.
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In Many Parts Of The World Official Death Tolls Undercount The Total Number Of Fatalities
AS COVID-19 has spread around the world, people have become grimly familiar with the death tolls that their governments publish each day. Unfortunately, the total number of fatalities caused by the pandemic may be even higher, for several reasons. First, the official statistics in many countries exclude victims who did not test positive for coronavirus before dyingwhich can be a substantial majority in places with little capacity for testing. Second, hospitals and civil registries may not process death certificates for several days, or even weeks, which creates lags in the data. And third, the pandemic has made it harder for doctors to treat other conditions and discouraged people from going to hospital, which may have indirectly caused an increase in fatalities from diseases other than covid-19.
One way to account for these methodological problems is to use a simpler measure, known as excess deaths: take the number of people who die from any cause in a given region and period, and then compare it with a historical baseline from recent years. We have used statistical models to create our baselines, by predicting the number of deaths each region would normally have recorded in 2020 and 2021.
Below are a set of charts that compare the number of excess deaths and official covid-19 deaths over time in each country. The lines on each chart represent excess deaths, and the shaded area represents the number of fatalities officially attributed to coronavirus by the government.
Countries Hit Hardest By Covid
The numbers could surprise you
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Which countries will have the highest mortality from COVID-19 come January 1, 2022? The numbers could surprise you.
When we took an initial look at total COVID-19 deaths, our Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation forecast showed that the countries with the largest epidemics since February 2020 include India, the United States, Brazil, Russia, and Mexico. This forecast took into account our estimates for deaths that have gone unreported. The percentage of deaths missing from official statistics in these five countries ranged from less than 5 percent to 84 percent.
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