The World Health Organization says the COVID pandemic has killed nearly 15 million people worldwide

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday released its long-awaited and long-awaited report on global excess mortality associated with COVID-19 for the period January 2020 to December 2021.

Bodies of COVID-19 victims placed on hospital stretchers in Sri Lanka (Source: Facebook)

By the end of last December, officially reported deaths worldwide had reached 5.42 million. However, the WHO study found nearly 15 million more people perished in the same period than usual, 2.75 times more than the official total of COVID-19 deaths. . The estimate of excess deaths gives a range of 13.3 million to 16.6 million.

The WHO has defined excess mortality/mortality as “the difference between the total number of deaths and the number of deaths that would have been expected in the absence of [COVID-19] pandemic.”

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, remarked: “These sobering data not only underscore the impact of the pandemic, but also the need for all countries to invest in health systems. that can support essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems.

A regional comparison of excess deaths versus official COVID-19 deaths underscores the seriousness of these warnings. But more than acknowledging the disparities, without understanding why they exist, one can hardly expect to bring about the changes advocated by the WHO. The disparities are ultimately a by-product of global capitalism and its criminal policies that have given free rein to the virus to infect the most vulnerable and needy.

In this sense, the New York Times tries to cover the criminal policies perfected in 2021, precisely the vaccine-only strategy that forced the piecemeal and systematic return to normalcy. They wrote yesterday: “Much of the loss of life from the pandemic was concentrated in 2021 when new, more contagious variants caused surges of the virus even in countries that had pushed back previous epidemics.

Rather than making a direct year-to-year comparison, the Time only notes that about 18%, or 10 million more people, died in 2021 than “wouldn’t be without the pandemic”. It should be noted that when the 2020 excess deaths report was released, there were 3 million additional deaths and 1.8 million official deaths related to COVID-19. The Economist the estimate puts those numbers at 5.6 million additional deaths and 1.8 million deaths from COVID-19.

In other words, the number of excess deaths for 2021 is well over double the number of deaths in 2020, despite confirmation of the effectiveness of several COVID-19 vaccines and recognition of the airborne nature of the virus, and the importance of respirators and high-efficiency ventilation to stem the waves of infection. It also became clear that the virus could mutate into forms with more virulent and contagious characteristics.

Instead, the de facto capitalist politics of vaccine nationalism and a vaccine-only strategy were used to begin the lifting of mask mandates and the loosening of social restrictions and the return to “economic” normality that cost the life of millions more when every means of eliminating COVID-19 was available. Whether the scale of death has doubled or tripled in 2021 only confirms that any remaining inhibitions for the social murder of the population have evaporated.

Twenty countries representing half of the world’s population recorded more than 80% (11.9 million) of the estimated global excess mortality: Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, l Iran, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Russian Federation, South Africa, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Turkey, Ukraine and United States of America.

Ten countries accounted for 68% (10.1 million) of the additional deaths: Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Turkey and the United States.

When these are sorted by World Bank income groups, lower middle income regions had the highest estimate of excess deaths at 7.87 million (52%) and the highest excess deaths per capita at 236 per 100,000 people. These regions are also home to about 3.3 billion people and have a GDP per capita of just $2,217.

In comparison, upper-middle-income regions recorded 4.24 million additional deaths and high-income areas 2.16 million. But compared on a per capita basis, they had similar excess death rates at 168 and 177 per 100,000, respectively. Low-income regions recorded only 0.64 million excess deaths, but the uncertainty bounds of the estimates are greatest due to poor vital statistics registration systems.

Dr Samira Asma, Deputy Director General for Data, Analysis and Delivery at WHO, noted that “measuring excess mortality is a critical part of understanding the impact of the pandemic. Changes in mortality trends provide decision-makers with information to guide policies aimed at reducing mortality and effectively preventing future crises. Due to limited investment in data systems in many countries, the true extent of excess mortality often remains hidden.

WHO experts have told New York Times, “About half of the countries in the world do not regularly report the number of deaths from all causes. Others provide only partial data. In the WHO African region, for example, experts said they only had data from six of the 47 countries.

According to WHO region categories, the population of Southeast Asia, which includes the Indian subcontinent, suffered the largest number of excess deaths, at nearly 6 million. With 4.7 million excess deaths, India accounted for almost a third of global excess deaths. The figure is almost 10 times higher than official COVID-19 deaths reported by Indian health authorities. Most of them happened during the explosive Delta wave which produced gruesome scenes of burning piles of corpses across the country.

The delay in releasing the report when it was completed in January was largely due to objections raised by India over the methodology for estimating excess deaths. According to multiple outlets, the complaints appear to be politically motivated to delay the publication of the damning results until after elections in major Indian states are completed in early March.

It also placed the leadership of the WHO in a precarious position. Many independent scientists working as technical advisers to the WHO and contributing extensively to the findings have criticized the international agency for acquiescing to India’s stalling tactics. While the report’s findings are significant and finally released, the delay underscores the politically explosive nature of the inconvenient truth.

The other Southeast Asian country with a significant undercount of COVID-19 deaths was Indonesia. More than a million people have died during the pandemic, though official COVID-19 deaths stand at 156,000, a six-fold undercount.

The case of Peru illustrates that a robust civil registration system is no substitute for investing in health systems and public health infrastructure. With a population of nearly 33 million, the additional deaths of 290,000 were only 1.4 times higher than the deaths reported from COVID-19. But on a per capita basis of 437 additional deaths per 100,000 people, Peru is among the highest in the world.

Dr Elmer Huerta, an oncologist and public health expert in Peru, said: “When a health care system is not ready to receive patients with severe pneumonia when it cannot provide oxygen what they need to live on, or even provide beds for them to lie on so they can have some peace, you get what you got.

Along with the release of the WHO’s excess deaths report, mainstream press is acknowledging that the United States has reached the heartbreaking milestone of one million COVID deaths. Although on an excess death per capita basis the United States sits in 40th place with 140 deaths per 100,000, the grim milestone is both substantially and symbolically a blemish on criminal policies that have been initially shaped by Trump and then carried out in the most criminal. formed by Biden.

Yesterday, new cases of COVID-19 in the United States again exceeded 100,000. Deaths rose sharply, with 1,929 deaths reported on May 4, 2022. Hospitalizations also rose sharply. And no preparations are underway to stem the seventh wave of infections.

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