The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (HME) reported on May 6 that it believes the real number of deaths worldwide from COVID-19, the SARS CoV-2 virus, is 6.9 million deaths, double the officially reported 3.5 million. Latin America and South Asia were very hard hit by deaths, but underreporting was a worldwide problem. The scientists of the University of Washington School of Medicine (HME) said they only counted deaths caused directly by the virus and not by the pandemic’s disruption to the health care systems, for example, uncounted where deaths from non-COVID-19 conditions avoiding health care facilities. The primary source of underreporting is countries that only report deaths in hospitals or in patients with confirmed infections. Also, underreporting is widespread in areas with weak reporting agencies and low access to health care, for example, urban slums and isolated rural communities.
The table above shows the May 3 official numbers of COVID-19 fatalities and the new May 6 HME estimates in the six countries with the most deaths.