Nearly 15 million more people died during the pandemic than would have in normal times, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, a staggering measure of Covid’s true toll that laid bare how vastly country after country has undercounted victims.
In Mexico, the excess death toll during the first two years of the pandemic was twice as high as the government’s official tally of Covid deaths, the W.H.O. found.
In Egypt, excess deaths were roughly 12 times as great as the official Covid toll.
In Pakistan, the figure was eight times as high.
Those estimates, calculated by a global panel of experts assembled by the W.H.O., represent what many scientists see as the most reliable gauge of the total impact of the pandemic. Faced with large gaps in global death data, the expert team set out to calculate excess mortality: the difference between the number of people who died in 2020 and 2021 and the number who would have been expected to die during that time if the pandemic had not happened