Striking research out of the University of Washington (UW) is estimating the global death toll from COVID-19 could be more than twice as high as official numbers show. Tracking overall 2020 mortality figures from around the world, the data indicates nearly 7 million people may have succumbed to the disease up to May, 2021.
One of the more reliable ways to calculate the true mortality rate of a pandemic is to study measures of excess death in a specific population. From year to year, overall mortality rates in a country are reasonably consistent, only rising relative to population growth. In the face of an unusual tragic event, be it a viral epidemic or a natural disaster, the amount of extra deaths that occur above the expected average can offer an insight into the mortality impact of that event.