SubscribeNew data from the World Health Organization (WHO) has found evidence that the real global death toll from COVID-19 is nearly three times higher than previously thought. The news comes as one count of COVID deaths in the US indicates that the country has passed 1 million.On 24 May, 2020, about two months after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in full force, the New York Times solemnly commemorated the deaths of 100,000 Americans at the hands of the virus. The front page was covered with the names and brief biographies of 1,000 of them, referring to their passing as “an incalculable loss.”Two years later, the US is closing in on ten times that amount, according to a NBC News count which found 1 million deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday.However, this figure has been reported several times over the past few months, indicating the difficulties in tracking the real number of deaths caused by the airborne respiratory virus, which mimics influenza and the common cold in its symptoms and can kill via a number of weaknesses in the body.Some of those counts, like that of the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) excess mortality tracker, recorded 1 million excess deaths back in January 2022.On Thursday, the WHO released its own report on global excess deaths over the last two years, finding evidence of 14.9 million additional fatalities during 2020 and 2021 – nearly three times official figures.“Excess mortality associated with COVID-19 is used to quantify the direct and indirect impact of the pandemic.’Excess mortality’ is defined as the difference between the total number of deaths that have occurred and the number of deaths that would have been expected in the absence of the pandemic i.e. a no-COVID-19 scenario,” the UN-tied agency explained.According to the report, 20 countries representing 50% of the global population accounted for more than 80% of the estimated global excess mortality over the 24-month period. The countries are Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, the UK, Turkey, Ukraine, and the US.Most of the excess deaths were concentrated in Southeast Asia, Europe and the Americas, and in middle-income countries, which saw 81% of excess deaths. High income countries reported 15% and low-income countries saw 4%, respectively.In India alone, where a catastrophic Covid wave swept through the country in the spring of 2021, the WHO found that there had been nearly 10 times more deaths than the official tally. A July 2021 report by the Center for Global Development arrived at the same conclusion, putting the country’s loss at the time at nearly 4 million people, while the WHO’s latest report suggests 4.74 million.“This 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,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.