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3mn more than official figures succumbed to COVID in 2020: WHO

3mn more than official figures succumbed to COVID in 2020: WHO

World Health Organisation has claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic claimed 3 million lives more than official figures in 2020 in its new report. The WHO's official death toll due to COVID-19 is around 3.4 million, while the actual number could be between 6-8 million, says the annual World Health Statistics report 2021. The incomplete initial estimate is attributed to the under-reporting of the number of infections and death tolls by countries.

"This number would truly be two to three times higher. So I think safely about 6-to-8 million deaths could be an estimate on a cautionary note," WHO's Assistant Director-General for Data and Analytics, Samira Asma, said.

"At the time of writing, more than 160 million confirmed Covid-19 cases and 3.3 million deaths had been reported to WHO. Yet these numbers are only a partial picture, as many countries have not been able to accurately measure and report on deaths that are either directly or indirectly attributable to Covid-19," WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in the report.

"One of the greatest lessons from the pandemic is the importance of timely, reliable, actionable and disaggregated data. This requires strong country data and health information systems through collaboration between governments, ministries of health, national statistical offices, and registrar generals," he said. He added that engagement with the private sector, academia, nonprofit organization and the scientific community is needed to ensure the data is accessible.

The report further notes that the pandemic is mostly concentrated in high-income countries such as the American and European Region, which together accounts for over three-quarters of cases reported globally. It further ranked the pandemic as sixth in the top 10 causes of death after ischaemic heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lower respiratory infections and neonatal conditions.

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