The Missing Deaths

Among COVID-19’s many mysteries is how many lives has it taken? 

It’s not easy to confirm SARS-CoV-2’s lethality when tests are limited, hospitals are overrun, and people are dying at home. New York increased its official death count by 3,700 last week. And officials in China raised Wuhan’s death toll by a third, adding 1,290 deaths to official count last Friday.

2 New York Times reporters took on the challenge by looking at the number of excess deaths in the last month in 11 countries. By comparing those numbers with official COVID-19 death counts, they estimated there were at least 28,000 missing deaths. The numbers include not just deaths from COVID-19 but from related causes like the inability to access care in overwhelmed hospitals.
 
How is this playing out in Ecuador, one of the hardest-hit Latin America countries? Official numbers are likely massively undercounting COVID-19 deaths, NPR Goats and Soda reports. The government counts 507 deaths among the 17 million population. One official said 6,703 people died April 1-15 whereas the monthly number typically hovers around 1,000.

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