The United States had more deaths above normal levels during the pandemic than most other rich countries, according to data released by the World Health Organization this month.
Deaths in the US were a 15% higher than normal, a number surpassed by only four other large countries in the same income bracket: Chile, the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania.
Globally, many poorer and developing countries fared worse than richer ones, but deaths in the US rose more than in several countries with many fewer resourcesincluded Argentina and the Philippines.
Notes: Only countries with populations greater than 10 million are included. Country income data comes from the World Bank Atlas. Source WHO
Throughout the pandemic, the US and other rich countries have had access to the bulk of life-saving supplies, such as vaccines, antiviral treatments, masks and testing kits.
While most rich countries also have a relatively older and more vulnerable segment of their population, they also had access to policy and economic support.
Some of the countries with the highest increase in mortality rates during the first two years of the pandemic were those in the upper-middle income group:
Ecuador, Mexico and Peru.
But many countries with the lowest incomes, including most African countries, are not included in the charts because their data they are less reliable.
Some countries had a harder time than others accurately counting pandemic-related deaths.
WHO figures show how much.
The overall number is more than double of the number of deaths from COVID-19 reported in official government calculations worldwide.
In wealthier countries, the gap between reported COVID-19 deaths and estimated total deaths above normal was small, perhaps due to the relatively smaller number of deaths, as well as the existing infrastructure regarding the notification of deaths.
But among upper-middle-income and low- or lower-middle-income countries, the number of above-normal deaths estimated by the WHO was often many times higher than the number of reported deaths.
Around the world, around 15 million people more than expected, or 13%, died in the first two years of the pandemic.
These latest estimates from the WHO are what many scientists say are the most reliable indicator of the full impact of the pandemic so far.
The numbers, often called excess deaths, they measure the difference between the number of people who died in 2020 and 2021 and the number of people who would be expected to die during that time had the pandemic not occurred.
They include those who died from COVID-19 without having been tested, as well as from other preventable diseases when hospitals were overwhelmed with virus patients.
In countries like Australia, China and Japan, the number of deaths in 2020 and 2021 estimated by the WHO was actually lower than normal.
The WHO said some countries may have seen a decline in mortality from other causes as a result of COVID-19 control measures.
And because the WHO relied on population and death statistics reported in part by government agencies, some numbers might underestimate yourself in countries with poor reporting.
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