A study by Washington University suggested that the actual number of Covid-19 induced deaths could be almost double the figure the World Health Organization (WHO) reported. 

Scientists from Washington University’s Institute for Health Metrics (IHMR) projected the unofficial figure would be up to 6.9 million deaths, compared to the number of  3.2m global fatalities that WHO suggests from the virus. 

In 2019, when the first cases of coronavirus emerged, WHO was accused of covering up the real threat of the airborne disease, resulting in countries being unprepared to withstand or even prevent Covid-19’s grasp. 

IHMR researchers believed their estimation could benefit authorities with developing measurements to tackle the next wave of coronavirus.

‘Understanding the true number of Covid deaths not only helps us appreciate the magnitude of this global crisis, but also provides valuable information to policymakers developing response and recovery plans,’ said Dr. Chris Murray, the IHME’s director.

The death toll was deduced by comparing the anticipated fatalities from all causes based on pre-pandemic trends with the actual number of all-cause deaths during the pandemic. IHME then excluded accounts of death from other causes indirectly related to the pandemic, such as the decreased traffic fatalities during lockdowns. Additionally, it is claimed that the discrepancy could have been caused during the early days of the pandemic when patients died without confirmation of the disease. Lack of testing and inadequate healthcare systems in developing countries were responsible for much of the poor statistics, says the report.

The report from IHME stated that the most significant difference between the official death toll and the actual number is seen among Western nations, including the U.K, U.S, and Italy. The U.S was named for the highest number of un-reported fatalities, according to the analysis—with 905,289 — far higher than the 574,043 officially recorded. India and Mexico were estimated to have had 600,000 deaths each, three times more than the WHO estimate.

While experts at IHME have not provided solid proof for their estimation, it is plausible to accept the notion that the actual death toll could have been higher, especially when hospitals were pushed overcapacity. The attention became focused on Covid-infected patients, leaving others with different diseases unable to access medical treatment, such as in India.

Likewise, at present, India is the country that faces the most significant hit by the lethal disease after a short recovery from the last wave in February, sending messages to others around the world not to let their guard down too early. Those who could not afford to immunize their citizens fast enough will have no other choice but to return to the lockdown method. 

According to Dr. Yogesh Jain Ganiyari of the Peoples Health Support Group, a low-cost public health program in the central state of Chhattisgarh, while he does not object that the solution could bring some effects, he said the problem lies at “the humanitarian aspect.”

“Those who look at lockdowns just as disease control mechanisms are heartless. You have to think about the people,” said Ganiyari, reported by the Associated Press.