Global COVID-19 death toll may be TRIPLE officially reported numbers

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The true death toll of the COVID-19 pandemic could be three times higher than feared, researchers found, as they looked at how the pandemic also killed people not directly-affected by the virus.

Researchers at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, found that 18.2 million people died because of the COVID-19 pandemic from July 2020 to December 2021.

That is triple the officially reported figures of 5.94 million. These figures do not just include people who died from the virus, but all excess deaths linked to Covid. 

The pandemic brought on a surge in deaths from cancer, trauma injuries and drug overdoses – especially in America – adding to the numbers. 

Many hospitals switched to essential services only in the early days of the pandemic, resulting in missed diagnoses and illnesses that started out relatively minor becoming terminal before physicians could diagnose.  

America is also estimated to have suffered the second highest number of excess deaths.

Researchers at the IHME reported this week that America’s Covid surveillance has left huge gaps to fill, with more than 90 percent of cases likely never entering official figures due to the prevalence of at-home testing. 

The research team, which published its findings in JAMA on Monday, gathered global death figures from the second half of 2020 and the entirety of 2021 for the study.

Official global Covid figures report just under six million deaths during that period. The growth in overall excess deaths was much larger than just the people the died from the virus.

The amount of people that die every year in every country generally stays the same, with slight but basically unnoticeable upticks caused by population growth.

If there is an increase in deaths in any particular year, or an out-of-usual increase from one specific cause of death, it signals to experts that something out of the ordinary occurred, and should be investigated.

Obviously, the cause of the surge in excess deaths across the world over the past two years was the emergence of Covid, which was first discovered in late 2019 before sweeping across the world to start 2020. 

While Covid has accounted for millions of deaths, the pandemic disrupted medical treatment for many people with chronic conditions, and the surge of patients in hospitals and other medical facilities also reduced access treatment for others.

The U.S. is particular suffered surges of deaths from drug overdoses – which eclipsed 100,000 per year for the first time ever – with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reporting upticks in deaths from heart and cognitive conditions from the virus.

Across the world, researchers found that there were 120 excess deaths per every 100,000 people in the global population. 

When the dataset was slashed to only 21 of the most affected countries in the world, there were 300 excess deaths found for every 100,000 residents.

India was the nation hit hardest, as the Delta variant wave that struck the South Asian nation in early 2021 created a large surge of deaths. The nation recorded four million excess deaths, more than double any other country.

The country is also starting to dispute some of its death figures, even holding back a World Health Organization (WHO) report on global Covid deaths due to issues it has with the way the organization is counting deaths.

According to the the unpublished WHO data, around 15 million people have died as a result of of the pandemic as of the end of 2021 – a stark difference than the released IHME report.

Second was the U.S., which recorded 1.13 million excess deaths, with Russia being the third and final country to suffer more than one million excess deaths.

Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia and Pakistan were noted by researchers at countries that also suffered a significant amount of excess deaths.

The IHME also reports that many Covid cases in the U.S. are likely going unreported – so much so that the official figures may be totally useless.

Researchers estimate that only seven percent of Covid cases in the U.S. are actually going into officials figures – the lowest rate of detection since the pandemic first began and access and supply of tests was limited.

There are a few reported reasons for this difference. First, the large prevalence of extremely mild or asymptomatic cases means that many people are not getting tested while ill, not even realizing they have Covid.   

Second, the National Institutes of Health also reports that at-home Covid tests have now surpassed PCR tests and clinical tests for usage. People will rarely, if ever, report a positive at-home test to officials, meaning it will not be included in official figures.

According to official numbers, 33,716 Americans are recording an infection every day. If the IHME estimates are correct, then the U.S. may be averaging nearly 500,000 daily cases.

This means that mortality of the virus is even lower than believed at this point, though, largely due to the more mild nature of the Omicron variant – which makes up all U.S. cases per CDC estimates – and the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines.

America is recording 449 cases per day as on Monday, a 16 percent drop over the past week. 

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