Covid deaths could be much higher than known: Reports - world news

There may be tens of thousands of more deaths due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic around the world than currently established, according to reports by the New York Times and the Financial Times that analysed cumulative mortality figures.

The estimation is based on the “all cause excess mortality”, which looks at the rise in deaths due to any cause compared with a historic average for that particular period.

In the case of the UK, the total missing Covid-19 deaths could be more than double the actual number, according to the FT, which cited official data showing a 75% increase in deaths in the week ending April 10. The pandemic has already caused as many as 41,000 deaths, the report claimed, on a day when the official Covid-19 fatality figure was pegged at a little over 17,000.

The NYT said that the analysis of all cause mortality data from 11 countries, including the UK and the US, showed that 25,000 more deaths may have taken place in the last month than acknowledged officially.

“In the last month, far more people died in these countries than in previous years, the New York Times found. The totals include deaths from Covid-19 as well as those from other causes, likely including people who could not be treated as hospitals became overwhelmed, the report said.

Total death numbers offer a more complete portrait of the pandemic, the report added citing experts, because most countries report only those Covid-19 deaths that occur in hospitals.

These numbers are usually delayed or hard to come by, both reports noted. In the case of Indonesia, for example, the NYT assessment used the average number of burials for its calculations.

“Whatever number is reported on a given day is going to be a gross underestimate,” NYT quoted Tim Riffe, a demographer at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany, as saying.

“In a lot of places, the pandemic has been going on for long enough that there has been sufficient time for late death registrations to come in, giving us a more accurate picture of what the mortality really was,” said Riffe.

2020-04-23 12:06:50
April 23, 2020