"I think that a lot of the developing countries do not have really good health, robust health care systems like the wealthier nations do, and they're easily swamped out," he said.
"Also, their health care systems don't track enough deaths that actually occurred. So the 15 million, I want to make clear, is the excess mortality above historical rates. This 15 million is a very conservative estimate."
Noting that the 15 million tallies are substantially higher than the official confirmed the number of deaths, he added that: "Economists estimate that between 2020 and 2021, there were actually 18 million. Actually now up to May 2022, there's 21 million."
Some governments have disputed WHO's methodology for calculating Covid deaths, resisting the idea that there were many more deaths than officially counted.
Where are the highest excess mortality rates?
According to the WHO, 84 percent of the excess deaths were concentrated in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
Some 10 countries alone accounted for 68 percent of all excess deaths.
Upper-middle-income nations accounted for 28 percent of the figure, lower-middle-income states 53 percent, and low-income countries 4 percent.
Meanwhile, high-income countries accounted for 15 percent of the excess mortality rate.
"This may seem like just a bean-counting exercise, but having these WHO numbers is so critical to understanding how we should combat future pandemics and continue to respond to this one," said Albert Ko, an infectious diseases specialist at the Yale School of Public Health who was not linked to the WHO research.
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