Official reported deaths
Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Mortality Assessment
Five working groups
e.g. group one
Convened jointly by the WHO and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)
14.9 million excess deaths associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021
Full death toll associated directly or indirectly with the pandemic
That is, excess mortality
1 January 2020 and 31 December 2021
Range 13.3 million to 16.6 million
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General
These sobering data not only point to the impact of the pandemic
but also to the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems
that can sustain essential health services during crises,
including stronger health information systems
Generate better data for better decisions and better outcomes
Number of deaths that have occurred and the number expected (in the absence of the pandemic)
Direct and indirect deaths
(due to the pandemic’s impact on health systems and society)
Health care systems overburdened
Deaths averted during the pandemic
Motor-vehicle accidents, occupational injuries
Most of the excess deaths (84%)
South-East Asia, Europe, the Americas
High-income and low-income countries, 15% of total 14.9 m
Low income countries, 4% of total 14.9 m
Male, 57% of total 14.9 m
Female, 43% of total 14.9 m
Dr Samira Asma, Assistant Director-General for Data, Analytics and Delivery, WHO
Measurement of excess mortality is an essential component to understand the impact of the pandemic.
Shifts in mortality trends provide decision-makers information to guide policies
to reduce mortality and effectively prevent future crises.
Because of limited investments in data systems in many countries,
the true extent of excess mortality often remains hidden
These new estimates use the best available data and have been produced using a robust methodology and a completely transparent approach
Dr Ibrahima Socé Fall, Assistant Director-General for Emergency Response
Data is the foundation of our work every day to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable.
Need to track outbreaks in real-time, everywhere
We know where the data gaps are
Mr Liu Zhenmin, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs
The United Nations system is working together to deliver an authoritative assessment of the global toll of lives lost from the pandemic.
This work is an important part of UN DESA’s ongoing collaboration with WHO and other partners to improve global mortality estimates
Mr Stefan Schweinfest, Director of the Statistics Division of UN DESA
Data deficiencies make it difficult to assess the true scope of a crisis, with serious consequences for people’s lives.
The pandemic has been a stark reminder of the need for better coordination of data systems within countries and for increased international support for building better systems, including for the registration of deaths and other vital events.