Statistics do not paint the picture of COVID-19 fatalities

Yaara Aleissa

The pandemic has impacted every individual but the length of those impacts varies from person to person. Factors such as pre-existing medical conditions, age, race, geography, and many more have displayed disparities in COVID-19 cases.  

For each country, COVID-19 is unavoidable and instead, world leaders are responsible for upholding safety regulations for their citizens. For the most effective protocols to be set, each country needs to measure their level of threat coming from the virus and these methods of measurement vary from country to country. 

Although, there is a variable that is typically unaccounted for in the global statistics projected through the excess death count. The excess death count refers to whether or not deaths are connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. An example of this is not being diagnosed with COVID-19 on a death certificate. Another factor is the overworking of hospitals that made it difficult for doctors to treat other conditions or patients putting off their hospital visits out of fear of contracting the virus.  

When analyzing the United States, the excess death count deviates from the actual death count by 11%. To determine this, publications such as The Economist are tracking the death count by taking the number of deaths for a region and period and comparing it with recent historical baselines through statistical models, they gather their determinations of what “a normal” death count for the given pandemic. 

Interpreting COVID-19 deaths comes in two forms according to the World Health Organization: the infection fatality ratio (IFR) and the second is the case fatality ratio (CFR). The IFR is an estimate of deaths among the known infected population. On the other hand, the CFR is the proportion of death based on the confirmed cases that are known. The CFR notes that the data regarding individual countries’ COVID-19 fatality cases are more significant than they seem, especially when there is a surge in normality. However, this does not mean there is a need to worry. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been much reform and “normal” seems far from grasp. Although through dark times, there is always a light. Despite some days feeling like holding onto the edge of the conversations sparked through the pandemic. Mental health is one of the most prominent. Despite it, all awareness remains prominently necessary, which can help move the direction one more push towards change.