Though reports claiming to be closely monitoring the death toll of the pandemic first established the figure to be around the five million mark, the WHO says its three times that amount.
Three times the previously reported amount
Statistics provided by the World Health Organization have calculated the amount of fatalities directly and indirectly related to the coronavirus to be around 15 million. Their number is significantly higher because they take into account deaths that were caused by COVID-19's impact on health systems.
In South Asian countries alone, according to the WHO, 4,7 million people have died due to the respiratory virus, which makes up almost a third of all global deaths. Data department specialist at the WHO, Dr Samira Asma, explained:
It's a tragedy. It's a staggering number and it's important for us to honour the lives that are lost, and we have to hold policymakers accountable. If we don't count the dead, we will miss the opportunity to be better prepared for the next time.
Underreported number of deaths
Another major contributor for the massive spike in numbers is attributed to the underreported number of deaths in third world and developing countries, such as India, Egypt, Pakistan and Indonesia.
Dr Bharat Pankhania, from the University of Exeter, explained that even after the revised calculation from the WHO, we might never truly have an accurate figure due to the lack of information coming from under privileged countries. She said:
When you have a massive outbreak where people are dying in the streets because of a lack of oxygen, bodies were abandoned or people had to be cremated quickly because of cultural beliefs, we end up never knowing just how many people died.