The direct or indirect excess mortality associated with the Covid-19 pandemic between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021 was approximately 14.9 million people, according to new data provided this Thursday by the World Health Organization. Health (WHO).
“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. », has pointed Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General.
#COVID19 cases & deaths are declining. These trends are welcome, but reduced testing & sequencing in many places means we’re blind to how the virus is mutating. The best way to protect people remains vaccination, alongside public health & social measures.pic.twitter.com/qFJbAuEBXR
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) May 5, 2022
Excess mortality is the difference between the number of deaths that have occurred and what would be expected in the absence of the pandemic, based on data from previous years.
The WHO includes in this report deaths associated directly with Covid-19 (due to the disease) or indirectly (due to the impact of the pandemic on health systems and society).
The deaths indirectly linked to Covid are attributable to other health conditions for which people were unable to access prevention and treatment because health systems were overwhelmed by the pandemic. The number of excess deaths may also be influenced by deaths averted during the pandemic due to lower risks of certain events, such as traffic accidents or work injuries.
According to the WHO, 84% of excess deaths from Covid-19 between 2020 and 2021 it is concentrated in Southeast Asia, Europe and America and only 10 countries contribute 64%. Middle-income nations account for 81% of the 14.9 million excess deaths (53% in lower-middle-income countries and 28% in upper-middle-income countries), while 15% correspond to rich countries and 4% to poor nations.
more men than women
The global number of excess deaths was higher in men (57%) than in women (43%) and also among older adults. “Excess mortality is an essential component in understanding the impact of the pandemic. Changes in mortality trends provide decision makers with information to guide policies to reduce mortality and effectively prevent future crises. Due to limited investments in data systems in many countries, the true extent of excess mortality often remains hidden.” Samira Asma, Deputy Director General for Data, Analytics and Delivery at WHO.
The new data comes from a global collaboration supported by the work of the Technical Advisory Group for the Assessment of Mortality from Covid-19 and consultations with countries.
This group, convened jointly by the WHO and the International United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), is made up of many of the world’s leading experts, who developed an innovative methodology to generate comparable mortality estimates even when data is incomplete or not available.