by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Economist’s analysts resolved the questions by choosing to looking at all deaths reported since the start of the pandemic, and comparing that figure to what the normal pre-pandemic death rate suggested it would be. The first observation is that the global death toll could be two to four times higher than the official numbers listed at sites like Worldometers. …
… Perhaps most useful, the Economist statisticians contrasted the number of official reported deaths in a country or continent against the estimated excess deaths in that region.
By this measure, the global champion in denial is Burundi, which claims 38 deaths from Covid-19, but that The Economist calculates has had 3,600 to 21,000 more deaths than it would normally have since the start of the pandemic. The Economist estimates that the official death toll is roughly 51,000 percent higher than the official number. Landlocked, resource-poor, one of if not the poorest country in the world, and beset by political repression, strife and corruption, we should not exactly be shocked that Burundi is either denying the full death toll or incapable of accurately measuring it.
The other countries with the largest percentage disparities between their official death toll are similarly troubled, poor, third-world countries: Chad, South Sudan, Niger, Burkina Faso, Tajikistan… and then there’s a country that stands out from the rest: The People’s Republic of China.
Officially, the People’s Republic of China has suffered 4,876 deaths from Covid-19 in a country with roughly 1.4 billion people. The Economist calculates that since the start of the pandemic, anywhere from 550,000 to 2 million more Chinese people have died than would be expected under the normal pre-pandemic death rate. This means the likely death toll is roughly 12,000 percent higher than the official figure.