15 million more deaths worldwide caused by COVID over two years – WHO | world news

Nearly 15 million excess deaths worldwide at the end of 2021 were caused by COVID, according to figures released by the World Health Organization.

It estimates that a total of 336.8 million years of life have been lost worldwide due to the pandemic which was declared in early 2020.

This means that on average, each excess death resulted in the loss of over 22 years of life, with the highest amount lost among people aged 55-64.

The report is the clearest indication yet of the devastating legacy of the pandemic on a global scale.

The WHO Global Health Assessment also calls for a global response to the growing threat of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancers, heart disease and diabetes which, if left unchecked, could represent 86% of all deaths by 2050.

Despite advances in medicine, non-communicable diseases now account for nearly three-quarters of all lives lost each year.

If this trend continues, NCDs are expected to account for around 86% of the 90 million annual deaths by mid-century, warns the WHO’s World Health Statistics report.

This means that 77 million deaths will be due to NCDs, an increase of almost 90% since 2019.

The WHO is calling for “determined and collective” action to tackle what it describes as “an ever-growing health threat to future generations”.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “The world must learn the lessons of the past two decades, including the tragedy of those pandemic years.

“One of the most important of these is the knowledge we have in our power to prevent unnecessary death and disease and create stronger, more equitable and more resilient health systems and societies.”

There are also broader concerns about how the pandemic has exacerbated health inequalities and hampered improvements in the fight against malaria, tuberculosis and so-called neglected tropical diseases.

This year’s report includes a dedicated section on climate change and health for the first time and calls for a “coordinated and scaled-up response”.


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