Brazil estimated Covid underreporting just 2 percent, per WHO report

covid deaths
Photo: Thales Antonio/Shutterstock

The World Health Organization published new estimates of Covid deaths around the world on Thursday, calculated by a global panel of experts. Roughly 14.9 million more people died worldwide in 2020 and 2021 than would have been expected under normal circumstances, the report says — more than double the 6.2 million Covid deaths officially reported by countries worldwide.

In Mexico, the WHO’s excess death toll was twice as high as the country’s official Covid death figures. In Pakistan and Egypt, the discrepancy was eight and 12 times government figures, respectively.

But the new estimates are just 2 percent above the official figures declared in Brazil, where a lack of testing and transparency from public officials posed an obstacle to accurate reporting on cases and deaths. 

The government has counted 663,759 deaths caused by the coronavirus so far — while the new WHO report estimates Brazil’s Covid excess deaths at 681,267.

In April, Brazil’s Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga announced that the government would declare the end of the Covid public health emergency instated back in February 2020. The decision is symbolic, being a declaration of victory over Covid at a time when the rolling average of new daily deaths remains below 100 and most of the country has returned to a life approaching normality.