The World Health Organization estimated that about 15 million people died as a result of either COVID-19 or its impact on the healthcare system in 2020 and 2021.
Most of the excess deaths (84%) were concentrated in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Americas, according to the WHO estimates.
“These sobering data not only point to the impact of the pandemic but also to 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, WHO Director-General. “WHO is committed to working with all countries to strengthen their health information systems to generate better data for better decisions and better outcomes.”
The group tasked by WHO with calculating the number of COVID-related deaths between January 2020 and December 2021 estimated there were between 13.3 million and 16.6 million deaths caused either directly or indirectly by the virus, according to the WHO using data reported by countries and statistical modeling.
“Measurement of excess mortality is an essential component to understand the impact of the pandemic. Shifts in mortality trends provide decision-makers information to guide policies to reduce mortality and effectively prevent future crises. Because of limited investments in data systems in many countries, the true extent of excess mortality often remains hidden,” said Dr. Samira Asma, assistant director-general for data, analytics and delivery at WHO. “These new estimates use the best available data and have been produced using a robust methodology and a completely transparent approach.”
For more information, visit the WHO’s website
In other news:
- U.S. regulators limited who can receive Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine because of concerns about the potential for rare but serious blood clots. Read more from the Dallas Morning News here.
- The Texas border effort, named Operation Lone Star, received $495 million from federal COVID-19 aid and additional shifted funds. Totaling $1.4 billion a year, the National Guard effort at the border costs more than three times what state lawmakers originally budgeted. Read more from the Dallas Morning News here.