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A new analysis of the toll of the Covid-19 pandemic suggests 6.9 million people worldwide have died from the disease, more than twice as many people as has been officially reported.

In the United States, the analysis estimates, 905,000 people have died of Covid since the start of the pandemic. That is about 61% higher than the current death estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 561,594. The new figure also surpasses the estimated number of U.S. deaths in the 1918 flu pandemic, which was estimated to have killed approximately 675,000 Americans.

The analysis was conducted by scientists at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

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“We’re probably not yet at the global toll of Spanish flu and certainly not at the death rate from Spanish flu. But given what’s unfolding in India right now, given our expectation of continued deaths, Covid is going to rival Spanish flu at the global level in terms of the count, likely, before we see the end of this epidemic,” the institute’s director, Christopher Murray, told reporters in a briefing.

Most countries have underreported deaths, Murray said. In many cases, the under-estimates seem to be a result of health systems being overwhelmed, and of insufficient testing.

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But in several cases it appears something else would have to account for the scale of the differences between the deaths countries are reporting and the excess mortality they have experienced during the pandemic, he said, pointing to countries like the Russian Federation and Egypt, where the estimated deaths, 170,000, are 13 times higher than the country’s official death toll, 13,529.

Murray’s group estimates that by September, the global death toll from Covid-19 will reach 9.4 million, with India at that point surpassing the United States as the country with the highest toll. By September, the group’s models suggest that India’s Covid death toll will be 1.4 million people, and the U.S. toll will be 949,000.

The estimates are of deaths directly related to Covid, and do not include deaths that resulted from the pandemic’s disruption of health care — for example, people who did not seek care for heart attacks because they were afraid to go to Covid-swamped hospitals.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the percent change between the current death estimate from the CDC and the estimate in the new analysis.

  • TRUMP DID NOTHING SO THESE DEATHS ARE FROM TRUMP GROSS NEGLECT AND WILL BE CHARGED ONE DAY AS JUSTACE WILL COME AS NO PERSON IS ABOVE THE RULE OF LAW AND JUSTACEDOES MATTER AND WILL COME FOR TRUMP TO ONE DAY AS WE ARE ON THE ROAD TO JUSTACE AS TRUMP LOST AND IS NO LONGER IN OFFICE AND CAN NOW BE PROCUTED

  • Honest question: why is the difference between 905,000 & 561,594 reported as 38% of the larger estimate rather than ~61% of the smaller? …especially with reference to the it being “38% higher than” the smaller estimate. Is this a journalistic convention (that I don’t recall ever noticing before?). It seems like saying “2 is 50% higher than 1,” when most would never think of it that way?

    • I noticed this too, honestly just think she divided by the wrong number without thinking about it

  • The first estimates for the case fatality rate out of Wuhan were 3 to 4%. I remember our public health people saying that number was way over the real number, due to huge numbers of people who were not sick enough to make it in the stats.
    But, a WHO official said random testing of people in Wuhan did not show large numbers of undetected cases – so the real death rate was much higher than we reported here- a LOT of the difference between that early estimate fatality rate and what is reported for the US now could be due to not attributing deaths to Covid.

    I am kind of assuming, if the study is brand new, it is in preprint and will get a lot of analysis over the next few weeks.

  • I must have missed China in the graphic. Maybe it is too small to register?

  • So how does this new study calculate the deaths. What criteria is the modelimg based on?

  • Either the text or the graphic is wrong. The numbers cited for Egypt are labeled as South Africa on the graph.

  • I am vaccinated. I am also terrified of the Mutations that quite possibly could evade the vaccines. With what’s happening in India I honestly don’t see how we can keep up with the vaccines. They are mostly made in India. This is going to be worse than the Spanish Flu 100 years ago Globally.

    • The global death toll is .0008%. The flu a century ago was estimated to have killed 10-20%. Perhaps ignore the fear mongering?

    • You’re off by 2 orders of magnitude (and rounded down) – 0.088% globally, with the US at 0.27%.

    • Replying to the OP – if India really does have a collapse, of even just a couple months, will the production of other vaccines suffer? We may be in trouble from that. I saw headlines raising the possibility of greatly reduced vaccine production, that is, of vaccines other than those for Covid, BEFORE the major outbreak in India. It is worrisome.
      As for the mortality rate = it is very bad – but I think it is getting lost a bit – in my country, 47% of fatalities were in people over 80. Their lives were valuable, but we can not regard them as being comparable to someone who is much younger.
      We shut down the country, when we should have isolated people at high risk, and let the rest of us live normally. A huge mistake in my view.

  • India’s death toll conservatively is 10x the official number. As of today the official death count is 230k so the actual number would be over 2.3 million.

    • I do not know anything about what is going on in India, so I am not disputing your claim, but can you provide some evidence for it? It IS actually important in trying to assess the danger from the variant, when we have a high number of people refusing vaccines, and do not yet know for sure our vaccines will work against it.

    • The second word in the story is the same link you posted. I wonder if the article was updated after your comment.

  • DUH!

    Indeed, according to CDC data there have been 663k+/-39k excess deaths for the period Feb01/2020-Apr01/2021.
    However, analyzing the data up to before the last winter surge, and after, I had the suspicion several states (guess which ones) have been withholding death reports for the past six months, and the UW estimation seems to support that

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