Coronavirus: What is the true death toll of the pandemic?

At least another 130,000 people worldwide have died during the coronavirus pandemic on top of 440,000 officially recorded deaths from the virus, according to BBC research.

A review of preliminary mortality data from 27 countries shows that in many places the number of overall deaths during the pandemic has been higher than normal, even when accounting for the virus.

These so-called "excess deaths", the number of deaths above the average, suggest the human impact of the pandemic far exceeds the official figures reported by governments around the world.

Some will be unrecorded Covid-19 victims, but others may be the result of the strain on healthcare systems and a variety of other factors.

Explore the animated guide to excess deaths below and scroll further to see how the pandemic has affected countries such as Brazil, Italy, South Africa and the UK.

Directly comparing the death toll between different countries is difficult. The accuracy of coronavirus data depends on how many people are tested for the virus and whether governments include deaths outside hospitals in their counts.

As the virus has spread around the world, countries have reached different stages of their outbreaks at different times. In some places, the number of excess deaths may still increase in the coming weeks and months, especially as figures are revised, while in others the number of deaths is beginning to return to normal levels.

Analysing deaths from all causes during the outbreak and comparing them with deaths in the same period from previous years can begin to provide a more accurate, if still provisional, assessment of the coronavirus pandemic's true death toll.

Read through our analysis of excess deaths in 27 locations and personal stories highlighting some of the tragic consequences of the pandemic.

The UK's peak came during the week ending 17 April, with more than 12,800 excess deaths registered. According to ONS data, 9,495 of them mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate.

London, for a long time the UK's coronavirus hotspot, has recorded the highest number of excess deaths since the outbreak began.

But all of the UK's regions have seen excess mortality, with the West Midlands and the North West registering about 50% more deaths than usual during the pandemic.

While all parts of the UK have moved past the peak, Wales and the North West of England saw the highest rates of excess deaths in the week ending 5 June.

The US has reported the world's largest death toll from coronavirus.

But the way the outbreak has played out across the 50 states varies widely.

New York City's coronvirus toll has been the most dramatic, with cases and deaths higher than those of many countries.

Yet nationwide, all states have seen the impact of the virus on their healthcare systems and the lives of their citizens.

While some states such as California acted quickly to restrict movement and try to contain the disease, others such as Wyoming have resisted strict lockdown measures.

Many state-issued directives for citizens to stay at home are currently being eased.


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