Coronavirus has killed more than double the number of people officially reported, a study has claimed.
Analysts in the US estimate the disease has caused about 6.9million deaths globally – as opposed to the 3.2 million declared by the World Health Organization (WHO).
They warned that low testing numbers and weak healthcare systems in developing countries were partly behind the skewed statistics.
But a large amount of the under-reporting has occurred in Western countries which suffered huge epidemics, including the UK, US and Italy, according to the study. It said this is mostly because of a lack of testing at the start of the pandemic, when many Covid patients died without confirmation of the disease.
Washington University’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation warned the data showed the true toll of the pandemic is ‘significantly worse’ than meets the eye.
According to the analysis, the US has the highest number of Covid deaths globally with 905,289 far higher than the 574,043 officially recorded.
It is followed by India and Mexico which are each estimated to have suffered more than 600,000 virus victims, three times the WHO’s tallies.
Britain was claimed to have had 209,661 Covid fatalities, about 60,000 more than have actually been recorded. Statisticians tracking the outbreak through analysing death certificates have only counted 150,000 coronavirus fatalities in the UK since the pandemic began.
Even without the additional unreported deaths, the Covid crisis is one of the ten deadliest pandemics in history.
The bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death, was the most lethal of all diseases, killing roughly 200 million people in the 14th century. Smallpox, the second deadliest pandemic in history, claimed the lives of 56 million people over more than 400 years before it was finally eradicated in 1980.