WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- According to a study published on Wednesday, the COVID-19 death toll across 21 first-world countries exceeded the government tallies by over 20 percent.
- Over 40,000 unaccounted coronavirus fatalities were discovered as the pandemic swept the world, overwhelming the hospitals.
- The excess deaths were fairly distributed between both genders, the study reported.
Across 21 first-world countries, the COVID-19 death toll during the first wave earlier this year exceeded the government records by an average of 20 percent, based on a study published on Wednesday.
From mid-February up to May 2020, researchers discovered over 206,000 fatalities due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to official tallies by governments, only around 167,148 succumbed to the virus.
Most cases of the 40,000 missing COVID-19 deaths were not accounted for, especially during the peak of the outbreak where the disease has overwhelmed hospitals and healthcare workers.
In other cases, it could be attributed to halting of health care, like missed and delayed treatments (e.g. cancer patients), or the lack of access to immediate medication for emergency cases.
“The impacts of the pandemic on deaths go beyond infection alone because it affects death in ‘indirect’ ways,” senior author and professor Majid Ezzati, from the global environmental health at Imperial College London, told AFP.
There were many variables with regard to the actual causes of deaths for the first wave of the pandemic. Cases varied across the countries affected by the virus.
Notably, Spain, England, and Wales had the highest number of deaths, with 100 additional deaths per 100,000 people. It was 37 percent above the expected mortality rate sans COVID-19.
Based on the study, European countries such as England, Italy, Spain, and Wales contribute 75 percent of the recorded excess deaths. Belgium and Scotland were also badly hit.
On the other hand, nations that are fortunate to obtain non-rising deaths included Australia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, and Slovakia.
Other countries such as Austria, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden were somewhere in between.
The excess deaths were almost equally divided among males and females, which was in contrast with hospital data, where the bulk of COVID-19 victims were men.
“What counts as COVID-19 death is defined differently in different countries,” Professor Kevin McConway of applied statistics at Britain’s Open University said. He was not involved in the study.
In the US, meanwhile, the fatality rate, which was normally stable every year, was up by 20 percent during the same period, as discovered by the study.
It also showed that states that had an early lift of restrictions in April and May had a resurgence of new cases and deaths in the following months.
“The high count in the Sun Belt” ━ including Texas, Arizona, and Florida ━ “show us the grave consequences of how some states responded to the pandemic,” said Steven Woolf, lead author and director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Source: Yahoo News!