According to data released by the World Health Organization this month, more deaths than normal were reported during the epidemic in the United States compared to other rich countries. The U.S. death toll was 15 percent higher than normal – a number that surpassed the other four major countries in the same income group: Chile, the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania.
More deaths than usual in 2020 and 2021 according to the country’s income level
Note: Only countries with a population of over 10 million are included. The country’s income data is available from the World Bank Atlas.
Globally, many poor and developing countries were worse off than rich countries, but the death toll in the United States has risen even more than in a number of countries with much less resources, including Argentina and the Philippines.
Across the epidemic, the United States and other wealthy nations have access to the vast majority of life-saving supplies, such as vaccines, antiviral treatments, masks and testing kits. Although most rich countries also have relatively older and weaker sections of their population, they also had access to economic aid and policies.
The countries with the highest death rates in the first two years of the epidemic were the upper-middle-income groups: Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. However, many low-income countries – including most African countries – are not included in the chart because their data is less reliable.
Some countries have struggled harder than others to accurately calculate epidemic-related deaths. WHO statistics show exactly how much. The death toll in Covid-19 worldwide has more than doubled, according to official figures.
Covid-19 deaths have been reported compared to the total deaths above normal
Total deaths are higher than normal
More deaths than usual have been reported
Note: Data for the years 2020 and 2021. Only countries with a population of over 10 million are included.
In rich countries, the gap between the reported Covid-19 deaths and the estimated total mortality was lower than normal, probably due to the relatively low number of deaths and the existing infrastructure surrounding the death report.
But among the upper-middle and lower or lower-middle-income countries, the number of deaths higher than normal estimated by the WHO was many times higher than the number of deaths often reported.
Worldwide, about 13 percent – or more than 15 million people – died in the first two years of the epidemic than expected.
Worldwide deaths are higher than normal
These latest estimates from the WHO are said by many scientists to be the most reliable measure of the total impact of the epidemic to date. The figures – often referred to as excess deaths – measure the difference between the number of deaths in 2020 and 2021 and the number of people expected to die in the event of an epidemic. They include those who died without testing for Covid-19, as well as those who died from other preventable illnesses when hospitals were overwhelmed by the virus.
In countries such as Australia, China and Japan, the death toll in 2020 and 2021 projected by the WHO was actually lower than normal. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the Covid-19 control system in some countries could reduce mortality for other reasons. And since the WHO relied partly on death and population statistics reported by government agencies, some numbers could be underestimated in countries with poor reporting.
Here’s a look at how much the death toll in countries with a population of more than 10 million is above normal:
More deaths than usual in high-income countries
932,000 more deaths than usual
Peru, which saw the highest death toll among all major countries, has been a hotbed of coronaviruses since the summer of 2020.
More deaths than usual in upper-middle-income countries
1,072,000 more deaths than usual
In India, more deaths than usual were reported in the summer of 2021, when a wave of lawsuits hit the country’s healthcare system.
More deaths than usual in low-middle or low-income countries
4,641,000 more deaths than usual