COVID-19 fatalities may be much more than what is being reported
New Delhi, Jan 20: A report has claimed that the number of deaths relating to COVID-19 are much higher when compared to the official figures.
The report published in Nature took into account a machine learning approach that is used by The Economist magazine in London. It found that there were issues with the collection of data and said that the actual fatalities could be two and four times more than the current data.
It said that the Netherlands government during the early stage of the pandemic only counted those patients who died in hospitals after getting infected. Belgium on the other hand included deaths caused by severe cold as COVID-19 fatalities, without testing the patients.
The death toll remained high in rich countries and low in the poor ones. However the analysis by the World Mortality Dataset of 116 countries said that poorer countries recorded fewer deaths.
The actual deaths in wealthy nations may be as high as a third of the current figures. In poor countries the actual fatalities can be up to 20 times higher than the higher figure, the report added.
WHO may soon release its first assessment regarding the deaths, the report said. It further said that COVID-19 is the largest pandemic after the Spanish flu that hit the world between 1918 and 1920.
Russia saw more than 300,000 patients dying due to COVID-19 by the end of 2021. However the excess deaths are likely to have crossed one million in that period, the report added.
China, India and more than 100 countries lack excess death estimates in the WMD. This is due to either governments not collecting the death figures or publishing them speedily, the report in Nature noted.