According to IHME estimates, the actual toll in the worst Covid-hit country US could be over 9 lakh as against the officially reported 5.7 lakh.
In India, which is the second worst-hit nation, the estimates show the actual death toll could be 6.5 lakh, which is nearly thrice the official figure of 2.2 lakh.
Same is the case with Mexico, where the actual death toll could be 6.17 lakh compared to the 2.17 lakh that has been reported.
The report suggests that many Covid-related deaths go unreported because countries only report the ones that occur in hospitals or in patients with a confirmed infection.
“In many places, weak health reporting systems and low access to health care magnify this challenge,” the report said.
The report said that the actual toll in countries like Russia and Egypt is likely to be drastically different than what has been reported.
The IHME estimates the actual toll in Russia to be five times that of the 1.09 lakh it has reported. In Egypt, it estimates the toll to be over 1.7 lakh, which is 13 times that of the reported number.
Interestingly, the report has no mention of China, which came under heavy criticism for allegedly underreporting its cases and deaths. The official Covid death toll of China is 4,636.
The IHME said it derived its estimates by following three steps.
“First, we estimate expected mortality in the absence of Covid-19 based on the patterns of all-cause mortality reported in prior years; second, we subtract observed all-cause mortality from March 2020 onward from expected mortality; and third, we remove from the analysis known periods of excess mortality due to causes other than Covid-19, such as the August 2020 heat wave in many European countries.
“For locations where vital registration systems are not complete, we apply the adjustment to the reported death counts based on our estimated completeness from the Global Burden of Disease study,” it said.