The Institute for Health Measurement and Evaluation says the pandemic has caused nearly 6.9 million deaths, far more than the 3.25 million reported.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused nearly 6.9 million deaths worldwide, more than double the officially recorded number, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Health Measurement and Evaluation (IHME ) from the University of Washington, DC.
Deaths are not being reported because most countries only register those that occur in hospitals or in patients with confirmed infection, the report released Thursday revealed.
Current reported estimates have shown more than 155 million infections worldwide with at least 3.25 million deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The IHME is an independent health research organization that provides a comparable measure of the world’s health problems and has been cited by the White House in the past and its reports are being followed closely by public health officials.
Reported mortality from COVID-19 is strongly linked to testing levels in a country, the IHME said.
“If you don’t test a lot, you may be missing out on COVID deaths,” Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Measurement and Assessment, said in a telephone interview with reporters.
The IHME estimated the total number of deaths from COVID-19 by comparing predicted deaths from all causes based on pre-pandemic trends with the actual number of all deaths caused during the pandemic.
In the United States, the analysis estimated the number of deaths linked to COVID-19 at more than 905,000. Official figures from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday estimated 575,491 deaths from the novel coronavirus.
The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters news agency on the report.
The report only includes deaths caused directly by the virus, not deaths caused by the pandemic’s disruption to health systems and communities.
“Many countries have devoted exceptional efforts to measuring the toll of the pandemic, but our analysis shows how difficult it is to accurately track a new infectious disease that is spreading quickly,” Murray said.
Meanwhile, India reported more than 400,000 coronavirus infections in 24 hours on Thursday, as the death toll from the virus rose to a record 3,980.
The South Asian nation’s tally topped 21 million cases, amplified by a record 412,262 new infections. The number of people who have died from COVID-19 now stands at 230,168, according to data from the Ministry of Health.
Interviews with doctors and village chiefs who are involved in tallying deaths from the pandemic, however, have revealed that the actual death toll could be several times the official tally.