New estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that the full death toll associated directly or indirectly with the covid-19 pandemic (described as “excess mortality”) between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2021 was approximately 14.9 million people (range 13.3 million to 16.6 million).
Excess mortality is calculated as the difference between the number of deaths that have occurred and the number that would be expected in the absence of the pandemic based on data from earlier years.
Excess mortality includes deaths associated with covid-19 directly (due to the disease) or indirectly (due to the pandemic’s impact on health systems and society).
Deaths linked indirectly to covid-19 are attributable to other health conditions for which people were unable to access prevention and treatment. The estimated number of excess deaths can be influenced also by deaths averted during the pandemic due to lower risks of certain events, like motor-vehicle accidents or occupational injuries.
Most of the excess deaths (84%) are concentrated in South-East Asia, Continental Europe, and the Americas. Some 68% of excess deaths are concentrated in just 10 countries globally.
The estimates for a 24-month period (2020 and 2021) include a breakdown of excess mortality by age and sex. They confirm that the global death toll was higher for men than for women (57% male, 43% female) and higher among older adults.
Full WHO report here.