The global reported death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 6 million on Monday, according to AP News.
Actual COVID-19 death count likely much higher: “Poor record-keeping and testing in many parts of the world has led to an undercount in coronavirus deaths, in addition to excess deaths related to the pandemic but not from actual COVID-19 infections, like people who died from preventable causes but could not receive treatment because hospitals were full.” An analysis by a team at the Economist estimates the number of COVID-19 deaths to be between 14.1 million and 23.8 million.
COVID-19 hitting islands: Remote pacific islands, which had been largely unscathed by the pandemic due to their relative isolation, are being hit hard by COVID-19 for the first time. The rise in cases can mainly be attributed to the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
Eastern Europe death rates remain high: Death rates are high in Poland, Hungary, Romania and other Eastern European countries. COVID-19 death and infection rates in Eastern Europe may be further impacted by the more than 1.5 million refugees arriving from Ukraine, where poor vaccination rates have led to high case and death counts.
U.S. deaths: Despite high vaccine availability, the U.S. is nearing 1 million reported COVID-19 deaths. The U.S. has the largest official death count in the world, though numbers have been trending down over the past month.
Other global numbers: Mexico has reported 300,000 deaths. With limited testing the number is likely considerably higher. The same is true in India where the reported number is more than 500,000, but experts believe the real number is in the millions, mostly from the Delta variant. The African continent’s death count is only 250,000, likely due to a lack of reporting as well as a younger and less mobile population. In Britain, where all COVID-19 restrictions have been dropped, infections are high but down from their peak during the Omicron wave in December.
Vaccine impact and disparity: At this point in the pandemic, many are deeming COVID-19 the “disease of the unvaccinated.” Unvaccinated people are significantly more likely to fall seriously ill and die than their vaccinated counterparts. Global vaccine disparity presents a challenge in containing COVID-19 worldwide, as only 6.95% of people in low-income countries are fully vaccinated compared to more than 74% in high-income countries.