The death toll during the pandemic far exceeds the totals reported by countries, the WHO says

But he said the WHO estimates were too high. “It is not the numbers that matter most, but how to intervene in the management of Covid-19”, she said.

For yet other countries that suffered severely during the pandemic, WHO estimates have illuminated even more startling figures hidden within already devastating tally. In Peru, for example, the expert estimate of 290,000 excess deaths by the end of 2021 was only 1.4 times higher than the reported Covid death toll. But the WHO estimates 437 excess deaths for every 100,000 Peruvians who left the country with one of the highest per capita tolls in the world.

“When a health care system is not prepared to take in critically ill pneumonia patients, when it is unable to provide the oxygen they need to live, or even provide them with beds to lie down in so they can have some ‘peace, you get what you have, ”said Dr. Elmer Huerta, an oncologist and public health specialist who hosts a popular radio show in Peru.

In the United States, WHO estimated that around 930,000 more people had died than expected by the end of 2021, compared to the 820,000 deaths from Covid that were officially recorded in the same period.

In Mexico, the same government has kept a tally of excess deaths during the pandemic that appears more or less in line with that of the WHO. Those estimates – roughly double the Covid death toll reported in the country – reflected what analysts have described as difficulties in counting the deaths.

“We answered badly, we reacted slowly. But I think the worst thing of all was not communicating the urgency, wanting to minimize, minimize, “he said Saverio Tello, a public health analyst based in Mexico City. “Because Mexico wasn’t or isn’t testing Covid, many people have died and we don’t know if they had Covid.”

The WHO’s calculations include people who have died directly from Covid, from medical conditions complicated by Covid, or because they had diseases other than Covid but were unable to obtain the necessary treatment due to the pandemic. Estimates of excess deaths also take into account expected deaths that have not occurred due to Covid restrictions, such as the reduction in traffic accidents or the isolation that has prevented deaths from flu and other infectious diseases.