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Three times more people died of covid 19 than reported: study

Three times more people died of covid 19 than reported: study

Pune: We have largely forgotten those grim days when we spent time indoors; the days when deaths rained in our neigbourhoods, leaving hospitals overwhelmed with patients and corpses, while doctors and medical staff either falling sick or dying. We have forgotten nearly everything we have undergone and more. Of course we have either weathered the malaise or the virus eventually has given out—like most virus do at last.

Scientists haven't given up studying the viral blitzkrieg yet. They are considering its various implications and one study appeared in Lancet found a shocking fact that the actual death from covid 19 could be three times more than official records. It is quite close home to us Indians, because India reported 4.89 lakh death with mortality rate pegging at 18.3 per cent. The study points at the likelihood of excess death, considering the nation's size of population, India alone accounted for an estimated 22% of the global total deaths.

The study lets on that the situation was grimier than we choose to believe. Globally the total death toll between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021 was 5.9 million. The new study estimates 18.2 million excess deaths occurred over the same period.

Excess deaths, while explaining the difference between recorded deaths from all causes and the number expected based on past trends, are a key to understand the actual aftermath of pandemic.

With 5.3 million excess deaths, South Asia had the highest number of estimated excess deaths from Covid-19, followed by North Africa and the Middle East (1.7 million) and Eastern Europe (1.4 million). At the country level, the highest number of estimated excess deaths occurred in India (4.1 million), the USA (1.1 million), Russia (1.1 million), Mexico (798,000), Brazil (792,000), Indonesia (736,000), and Pakistan (664,000). These seven countries may have accounted for more than half of global excess deaths caused by the pandemic over the 24-month period, the authors of the study stated, the study as reported in Indian Express said.

Of the countries reported, Russia with 375 deaths per 100,000, and Mexico with 325 deaths per 100,000 were at the top. Brazil too with 187 death per 100,000 and USA with 170 deaths per 100,000 stood in the same slot.

The study found South Asia having greater excess deaths than the reported deaths: South Asia (excess deaths 9.5 times higher than reported deaths) and sub-Saharan Africa (excess deaths 14.2 times higher than reported) than other regions.

There were various reasons behind the large differences between excess deaths and official records. The most important may be a result of under-diagnosis from lack of testing and issues with reporting death data.

"Understanding the true death toll from the pandemic is vital for effective public health decision-making. Studies from several countries suggest Covid-19 was the direct cause of most excess deaths, but we currently don't have enough evidence for most locations," Dr Haidong Wang of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, USA, said.

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