According to research, in 2020, around 10 lakh more fatalities were caused by COVID-19 in 29 developed nations, with the United States accounting for the maximum number. The number of fatalities that exceeds what is predicted for a certain time period is referred to as excess deaths.
Almost 10 lakh Extra Fatalities Caused Worldwide Due To COVID-19
Last year, an estimated 979,000 more fatalities occurred across the 29 nations. The United States (458,000), the United Kingdom (94,400), Italy (89,100), Spain (84,100), and Poland (60,100) were the five nations with the largest number of excess fatalities. Only New Zealand, Norway, and Denmark did not see an increase in excess fatalities.
It provides valuable insight into the direct and indirect consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on total mortality, according to Nazrul Islam of the Department of Population Health, Oxford University, in the United Kingdom, and colleagues.
They noted that accurate and frequent observation of excess fatalities will aid public health policymakers in examining the causes for the same. According to the researchers, such surveillance might also aid in detecting significant social inequities in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Excess fatalities in the 29 nations were centered mostly among those who were of age 75 and above, followed by individuals between the ages of 65 and 74. Deaths among children under the age of 15 were more, comparable to predicted levels in the majority of nations and less than predicted in a few.
The anticipated number of extra fatalities in most nations was more than the number of COVID-19 reported fatalities. In the United States and the United Kingdom, for example, it was projected that excess fatalities were more than 30 percent greater than the number of COVID-19 fatalities recorded.
Other nations, like Israel and France, had more reported COVID-19 deaths than anticipated extra fatalities. The causes for these disparities are unknown, but Islam’s team believes that availability to screening and variations in how nations classify and record COVID-19 fatalities have issues.
Excess mortality rates were greater in males than in women in the majority of nations, and this disparity widened with age. In the United States, however, the excess death rate among individuals aged 85 and up was greater among women than males. The researchers stated that more study is required to determine how nationwide COVID-19 immunization campaigns affect mortality rates in 2021.
Jonathan Clarke and colleagues commented in an earlier study that the data validates the high COVID-19 mortality toll in developed nations in 2020. Clarke is a math professor at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom.
However, they cautioned that the true scope of the pandemic may not be known for a long time, particularly in low-income nations where issues like poverty and lack of immunizations, inadequate health systems, and high population density are putting individuals at heightened risk of COVID.
They also observed that, while mortality data is valuable, relying only on it ignores what might become a massive strain of long-term health risks posed by COVID-19.
They found that there is an urgent need to quantify this excess disease, help people with long-term COVID consequences, and finance health systems internationally to handle the backlog of work caused by the pandemic.
The study also emphasizes the need for more comprehensive research that takes into consideration other potential drivers of social inequality, such as ethnicity and socioeconomic position. This analysis provides a thorough assessment of the effects of the covid-19 pandemic on overall mortality up to the period when mass immunization programs became widely available throughout these nations. Future research will be required to determine the influence of national immunization programs on mortality in 2021.
The findings were published in the British Medical Journal on May 19.