WHAT ARE THE DEADLIEST PANDEMICS IN HISTORY?
Plague of Justinian
17th Century Great Plagues
1347 – 1351
1918 – 1919
541 – 542
1981 – present
165 – 180
2019 – present
1957 – 1958
* World Health Organization official death toll
Source: Visual Capitalist
Coronavirus has killed more than double the number of people officially reported, a study has claimed.
Analysts in the US estimate the disease has caused about 6.9million deaths globally – as opposed to the 3.2m declared by the World Health Organization (WHO).
They warned that low testing numbers and weak healthcare systems in developing countries were partly behind the skewed statistics.
But a large amount of the under-reporting has occurred in Western countries which suffered huge epidemics, including the UK, US and Italy, according to the study. It said this is mostly because of a lack of testing at the start of the pandemic, when many Covid patients died without confirmation of the disease.
Washington University’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation warned the data showed the true toll of the pandemic is ‘significantly worse’ than meets the eye.
According to the analysis, the US has the highest number of Covid deaths globally with 905,289 — far higher than the 574,043 officially recorded.
It is followed by India and Mexico which are each estimated to have suffered more than 600,000 virus victims, three times the WHO’s tallies.
Britain was claimed to have had 209,661 Covid fatalities, about 60,000 more than have actually been recorded. Statisticians tracking the outbreak through analysing death certificates have only counted 150,000 coronavirus fatalities in the UK since the pandemic began — the equivalent of around a fifth of all victims.
Professor Kevin McConway, a statistician at the Open University, told MailOnline there were reasons to believe the UK’s death toll is higher than official figures suggest because there were at least 13,000 excess deaths at the peak of the first wave that were not attributed to Covid. But he said he was ‘dubious’ the true toll would be as high as 209,000.
The Washington analysis only includes deaths caused directly by Covid and not those indirectly caused by the pandemic, including disruptions to healthcare.
Even without the additional unreported deaths, the Covid crisis is one of the ten deadliest pandemics in history.
The bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death, was the most lethal of all diseases, killing roughly 200million people in the 14th century. Smallpox, the second deadliest pandemic in history, claimed the lives of 56million people over more than 400 years before it was finally eradicated in 1980.
Coronavirus has killed more than double the number of people than has officially been reported, a study has claimed. Analysts in the US estimate the disease has caused about 6.9million deaths globally – as opposed to the 3.2m declared by the World Health Organization (WHO). The analysis only includes deaths caused directly by Covid and not those indirectly caused by the pandemic, including disruptions to healthcare
Analysts in the US estimate the disease has caused about 6.9million deaths globally – as opposed to the 3.2m declared by the World Health Organization (WHO)
Dr Chris Murray, the IHME’s director, said: ‘As terrible as the Covid pandemic appears, this analysis shows that the actual toll is significantly worse.
‘Understanding the true number of Covid deaths not only helps us appreciate the magnitude of this global crisis, but also provides valuable information to policymakers developing response and recovery plans.’
More people in England and Wales are now dying of flu and pneumonia than Covid
More people are now dying from flu and pneumonia than Covid in England and Wales for the first time since the second wave took off, official figures revealed.
Office for National Statistics data showed the virus was mentioned on 260 death certificates that occurred in the week ending April 23 — down 30 per cent on the week before.
But Covid was only listed as the underlying cause for 176 of the victims. For comparison, flu and pneumonia was behind 278 deaths in the same seven-day spell but mentioned on 1,203 certificates.
Covid was the leading cause of death during the second wave, claiming more than 1,000 lives a day at the peak of the crisis in January.
Experts said a successful vaccine roll-out forcing down Covid deaths, combined with more mixing leading to a resurgence in pneumonia-causing infections was behind the trend.
The researchers said deaths have gone unreported because countries only count those which occur in hospitals or in patients with a confirmed infection.
In many places, weak health reporting systems and low access to health care magnify this challenge.
IHME estimated the real Covid death toll by comparing anticipated deaths from all causes based on pre-pandemic trends with the actual number of all-cause deaths during the pandemic.
This ‘excess mortality’ figure was then adjusted to remove deaths indirectly attributable to the pandemic.
These would include people with non-Covid conditions avoiding health care facilities, as well as deaths averted by the pandemic – for example, declines in traffic deaths due to lockdowns.
Kazakhstan was the nation with the highest discrepancy between official and ‘real’ Covid deaths, according to the analysis.
The nation has only officially recorded about 5,600 Covid deaths but the IHME estimates the true toll to be 81,600.
Egypt was found to have a similar disparity — with about 13,500 official deaths compared to an estimated 170,000.
The real death toll in Japan was found to be 10 times greater than the Government’s official number – 108,000 to 10,390 – and in Russia it was five times greater —593,000 to 109,000.
Dr Murray added: ‘Many countries have devoted exceptional effort to measuring the pandemic’s toll, but our analysis shows how difficult it is to accurately track a new and rapidly spreading infectious disease.
‘We hope that today’s report will encourage governments to identify and address gaps in their Covid mortality reporting, so that they can more accurately direct pandemic resources.’