The World Health Organization says the number of deaths during the pandemic far exceeds the totals reported by countries

But she said the WHO estimates were too high. “It is not the numbers that are most important, but how to intervene in dealing with Covid-19,” she said.

For other countries that have suffered so hard during the pandemic, WHO estimates highlight even more staggering numbers hiding within already devastating death tolls. In Peru, for example, experts’ estimate of 290,000 excess deaths by the end of 2021 was only 1.4 times higher than the number of Covid deaths reported. But the World Health Organization’s estimate of 437 excess deaths per 100,000 Peruvians put the country among the highest per capita death rates in the world.

“When the health care system isn’t ready to take in patients who are seriously ill from pneumonia, or when it can’t provide the oxygen they need to live, or even provide them with beds so they can get some rest, you’re oncologist Dr. Elmer Huerta said. And the public health specialist who hosts a popular radio show in Peru: “Get what you got.”

In the United States, the World Health Organization estimated that nearly 930,000 more people died than expected by the end of 2021, compared to the 820,000 deaths from Covid that were officially recorded during the same period.

In Mexico, the same government has kept a statistic of excess deaths during the pandemic that appears roughly in line with the World Health Organization’s. Those estimates – about twice the number of Covid deaths reported in the country – reflected what analysts described as difficulties in counting the dead.

“We responded poorly, and our response was slow. But I think the most dangerous of all is not reporting the urgency, the desire to underestimate, to underestimate,” he said Xavier Tello, a public health analyst in Mexico City. “Because Mexico has not or is not testing for Covid, a lot of people have died and we don’t know if they had Covid.”

The WHO accounts include people who died directly from Covid, from medical conditions complicated by Covid, or because they had illnesses other than Covid but were unable to obtain needed treatment due to the pandemic. Estimates of excess deaths also take into account expected deaths that did not occur due to Covid restrictions, such as reducing traffic accidents or isolation that prevented deaths from influenza and other infectious diseases.