May 6, 2021 - World

True COVID-19 death toll is double the official numbers, study finds

Data: IHME; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

There have been twice as many deaths from COVID-19 around the world as have been reported, according to the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), which analyzed excess mortality and other factors.

The big picture: The U.S. has undercounted by over 300,000 deaths, while the death tolls in India and Mexico — second and third on the list, respectively — are nearly three times the official numbers, according to the analysis.

"Many deaths from COVID-19 go unreported because countries only report deaths that occur in hospitals or in patients with a confirmed infection. In many places, weak health reporting systems and low access to health care magnify this challenge," the report notes.

  • In Russia, which has used unusually strict criteria for attributing deaths to COVID-19, the IHME estimate is five times the official number.
  • In Egypt, there have been nearly 13 deaths for every one that's recorded, per the report.
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