India has accounted for the highest number of estimated excess deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic between 2020 and 2021, according to a study published in the British medical journal Lancet.
While the new analysis found that nearly 4.1 million more have died in the country, India’s official count at the end of 2021 showed just over 481,000 cases.
India alone has the highest number of mortality rate than any other country, accounting for 22% of the total global deaths due to Covid-19 during the period.
The new study provides the first estimates of excess deaths due to the pandemic around the globe. As many as 18.2 million people in 191 countries have died since 2020 but only 5.94 million deaths have been officially recorded.
According to the Lancet, US was the second worst-hit country in the number of estimated excess deaths with 1.1 million, followed by Russia (1.1 million), Mexico (798,000), Brazil (792,000), Indonesia (736,000) and Pakistan (664,000).
These seven countries have accounted for more than half of global excess deaths due to the pandemic over the period of 24-months.
In India, eight states had mortality rates exceeding 200 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the study. These states include Uttarakhand, Manipur, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Karnataka.
On the contrary, Arunachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Telangana, Sikkim, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Goa had excess death rates lower than the global average of 120.6.
In India, Maharashtra topped the chart with 0.6 million in terms of the absolute number of estimated deaths, followed by Bihar with 0.3 million.
The first global estimates of excess mortality shows 18.2 million people have died because of the Covid-19 pandemic by the end of December, 2021.
The estimation is three times more than the official reported number of 5.9 million, suggesting that the full impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is far greater than what it is believed to be.
While the surplus death rate is estimated to be 120 deaths per 100,000 population worldwide, 21 countries may have rates of over 300 excess deaths per 100,000 people.
The higher number of deaths rates were reported in Russia with 375 deaths per 100,000 and Mexico with 325, followed by Brazil (187) and the US (179). However for India, this was 152 deaths, according to the study.
Meanwhile, the experts have said further research would be required to understand the proportion of excess deaths directly due to the virus and it’s indirect effects, including the impact on health care services, deaths from other diseases, and wider economic impacts.