The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Covid Death Toll Much Higher than Reported

May 9, 2022

The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) has reported that the worldwide death toll during the past two years of the pandemic has been much higher than previously reported.

Measuring “excess mortality,” the W.H.O. has found that nearly 15 million more people died in 2020 and 2021 than would be expected to die during “normal years” without a pandemic. This is nearly three times the official death toll of 6 million.

These excess deaths include people who died from Covid directly, those who may have died from unreported Covid, and those who died from other medical problems because overwhelmed health systems could not help them in time.

By far the hardest hit have been poorer countries, who experienced a much higher excess death rate than their official Covid death rates. Egypt’s excess death rate was twelve times their Covid death figures; Pakistan’s was eight times more. And India’s was nearly ten times higher than its official figure of 481,080: 4.7 million people, or nearly one third the total number of excess deaths in the world.

The U.S. excess death toll was 930,000, while its official Covid death toll was 820,000 in 2020 and 2021. But it already was among the highest Covid death rates in the world. (The official death toll now approaches one million people.)

Two thirds of those deaths, 10 million people worldwide, took place in 2021—when new, more contagious variants swept through countries—but also a time when vaccines and antiviral medications had already been developed and when effective treatments were better known. These vaccines did not get to poorer countries while rich countries hoarded them; and their hospitals and clinics were even more overwhelmed. Those are 10 million completely unnecessary deaths—this devastation an indictment of capitalism’s criminal failure to deal with the pandemic adequately.