The coronavirus is responsible for more than five million confirmed deaths worldwide as of Monday, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering. Such a loss would wipe out almost the entire population of Melbourne, Australia, or most of the nation of Singapore.
Experts say five million is an undercount. Many countries cannot accurately record the number of people who have died from Covid-19, such as India and African nations; experts have questioned the veracity of the data from other countries, such as Russia.
“All of these estimates still depend on the availability of data, or someone collecting it before the antibodies and local memories fade away,” said Adam Kucharski, associate professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who mathematically analyzes infectious disease outbreaks. “Globally, there will have been numerous local tragedies that went unreported.”
The actual number of people lost to Covid-19 could be underestimated by “a multiple of two to 10” in some nations, said Denis Nash, an epidemiologist at the City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. . Overall, he said, the true global toll could be up to twice the reported figure (not up to 10 times, as an earlier version of this article incorrectly implied).
The pace of confirmed deaths appears to have slowed slightly since the world reached four million in early July, despite the rapid spread of the Delta variant since then, a sign that the spread of vaccines could be having an impact, at least in some parts of the world. It took nine months to virus to kill a million people, three and a half more for reach two million, other three to claim three million and around two and a half to exceed four million.
the America leads all other countries, with more than 745,000 deaths confirmed in total. The nations with the highest death toll after the United States are, in order, Brazil, India, Mexico and Russia.
The global rate of reported deaths scaled during the last two weeks after a downward trend for much of September and the first half of October, but with an average of more than 7,000 deaths per day it is still around 3,000 less than its August peak. The World Health Organization said last week in a report on pandemic conditions that confirmed deaths had increased in Europe and Southeast Asia, and decreased in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Dr. Nash said the death rate appeared to be declining “in parts of the world where we are doing a good job counting deaths, which are also places in the world that have the best access to vaccines.”
But, he continued, “I think there are places where there are increases in mortality rates, but we are just not measuring them.”
The 20 countries that have recorded the highest number of deaths per capita in recent weeks are mainly in Eastern Europe and the Caribbean, and most of them have vaccinated far less than half of their population.
Coronavirus cases are increasing by Europe, despite the fact that three quarters of adults in the European Union population has been fully vaccinated. Those inoculation rates plummet in countries like Bulgaria and Romania, and are even lower in nations outside the bloc, like Armenia.
That vaccination gap persisted even as vaccines became more available. A september report on perceptions of the pandemic by the European Council on Foreign Relations said the disparity It seemed to be motivated in large part by misinformation, mistrust, and skepticism.
Vaccination hesitancy is also a major problem for Caribbean nations, and many of them also face uneven dose distribution and logistical hurdles, the WHO said in October.
WHO officials have lobbied rich nations to provide more vaccines to poorer ones. They and others have denounced vaccine hoarding and most booster vaccination programs when much of the world has yet to be inoculated. Worldwide, about 76 percent of the shots that have been administered have been that way in high- and upper-middle-income countries, according to the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford. Only 0.6 percent of the doses have been administered in low-income countries.
Dr Nash said he was hopeful that access to vaccines and new pharmaceutical treatments, including a Merck antiviral pill, would eventually slow down the virus.
Dr. Kucharski said the actual death toll would not be known for a long time.
“People should be aware that it can take years to really understand the cost of Covid-19,” he said.