Six Million Official Global and 18 Million Excess COVID Deaths

The CDC will report that the US will pass 1 million cumulative COVID deaths in the next 25-40 days. The CDC reports the cumulative total at 946,000 as of March 15, 2022 and the seven day moving average is about 900-1200 daily deaths. It will be in April for the CDC figures but March for Worldometers. UK, Germany and other European countries are heading back up in daily cases and daily deaths. This started two weeks ago. The US will likely follow this follow up wave of COVID cases.

Worldometers reports the US cumulative total at 994k. Worldometers will report over 1 million total US COVID deaths early next week.

There is a Lancet article which calculates the excess deaths caused by COVID in many countries. The Lancet calculates 18 million excess COVID deaths globally for the first two years of the pandemic. This is versus the official COVID Global cumulative COVID deaths at 6 million.

The Lancet study makes several important contributions to understanding the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mortality.

First, they corrected all-cause mortality data for lags in reporting and for under-registration of death.

Second, they excluded weeks with heat waves, for which excess mortality due to COVID would be overestimated due to the large increase in observed mortality from excessive heat during the pandemic.

Third, they used an ensemble of six models to predict the expected mortality rate in the absence of COVID-19. Weights in the ensemble were based on the out-of-sample predictive validity of each model.

Fourth, for locations without weekly or monthly reported all-cause mortality data, they developed a statistical model that captured the relationship between the key COVID-19-related covariates, such as seroprevalence, infection-detection ratio, and other population-level burden of disease metrics, and excess mortality rate.

Fifth, to evaluate the robustness of the model predicting excess mortality, they conducted out-of-sample predictive validity testing, which indicated a small error rate (0·85%).

Sixth, by looking comprehensively across countries, they were able to generate estimates of excess mortality for 191 countries and territories, in addition to internally consistent regional and global aggregates. These estimates will form part of the next iteration of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study.

Although reported COVID-19 deaths between Jan 1, 2020, and Dec 31, 2021, totaled 5·94 million worldwide, we estimate that 18·2 million (95% uncertainty interval 17·1–19·6) people died worldwide because of the COVID-19 pandemic (as measured by excess mortality) over that period. The global all-age rate of excess mortality due to the COVID-19 pandemic was 120·3 deaths (113·1–129·3) per 100 000 of the population, and excess mortality rate exceeded 300 deaths per 100 000 of the population in 21 countries. The number of excess deaths due to COVID-19 was largest in the regions of south Asia, north Africa and the Middle East, and eastern Europe. At the country level, the highest numbers of cumulative excess deaths due to COVID-19 were estimated in
India (4·07 million [3·71–4·36]),
the USA (1·13 million [1·08–1·18]),
Russia (1·07 million [1·06–1·08]),
Mexico (798 000 [741 000–867 000]),
Brazil (792 000 [730 000–847 000]),
Indonesia (736 000 [594 000–955 000]), and
Pakistan (664 000 [498 000–847 000]).

Among these countries, the excess mortality rate was highest in
Russia (374·6 deaths [369·7–378·4] per 100 000) and
Mexico (325·1 [301·6–353·3] per 100 000), and was similar in
Brazil (186·9 [172·2–199·8] per 100 000) and the
USA (179·3 [170·7–187·5] per 100 000).

Obesity and COVID

Excess body weight is related to several comorbidities that can lead to an increasingly severe course of and consequent death from COVID-19. Metabolic disorders, for example, can predispose individuals to a poorer COVID-19 outcome. Since excess body weight can result in a greater volume and longer duration of contagion, it can also lead to a higher level of exposure to COVID-19. On average, every percentage point increment in the proportion of the overweight in adult populations contributes to an additional 3.5% points to COVID-19 mortality for high income countries.

In 2014, there were 2 billion overweight individuals globally, and the direct health care costs of obesity were around US$2 trillion. Of the global 2014 overweight population, around 14 percent live in India. In this same time period, between 2005 and 2015, overweight incidence doubled in India.

In 2020, One-third of the urban men and women in India surveyed were found to be overweight or obese. As much as 18% of men and 16% of women had high blood sugar level or were taking medication for controlling it. A quarter of urban men and women had elevated blood pressure or were taking medicine to control their blood pressure.

India is in a transition from a high rate of underweight people to a country with a significant amount of underweight and a lot of overweight people.

Russia has a lot of overweight and unhealthy people.

Brazil, Mexico and Pakistan also have high levels of obesity.

Countries can no longer afford to neglect the global nutrition crisis that has led to the obesity pandemic. At least 2.8 million people around the world die each year as a result of being overweight or obese. At the same time, the global medical costs of treating the consequences of obesity are staggering and expected to rise to $1.2 trillion annually by 2025. Good nutrition is central to tackling obesity and to building healthier, more resilient populations that are better equipped against Covid-19 and future pandemics.

SOURCES – World Population Review, World Obesity, Lancet, CDC, Worldometers
Written by Brian Wang,