New IHME study says COVID-19 has caused over 905,000 deaths in U.S., 6.9 million deaths globally

A new study concludes that COVID-19 has caused more than 905,000 deaths in America and more than double the number of global deaths that have been reported. 

The updated analysis by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine found that COVID-19 deaths are significantly underreported in almost every country. 

The United States, for example, has reported roughly 577,000 deaths as of this week, but the 905,000 counted by IHME is much higher - more deaths than any other country. 

Researchers say roughly 6.9 million people have died around the world, compared to the 3.25 million that have been reported. 

Mexico's numbers more than doubled, according to IHME, with 617,000 deaths. The study says Russia has also been much harder, with 600,000 deaths compared to the 109,334 the country is reporting. 

"As terrible as the COVID-19 pandemic appears, this analysis shows that the actual toll is significantly worse," said Dr. Chris Murray, IHME’s director. "Understanding the true number of COVID-19 deaths not only helps us appreciate the magnitude of this global crisis, but also provides valuable information to policymakers developing response and recovery plans." 

The new numbers come as vaccine access is higher than ever across the nation and officials are optimistic about a return to normal by summer. 

RELATED: Washington to allow 'vaccinated sections,' increasing capacity at sports arenas and other venues

The CDC predicts if the U.S. stays on its current track, cases and deaths will plummet by July, with new cases dropping from 350,000 each week to 50,000 and deaths at under 200 a week compared to the current 4,000 per week. 

Meanwhile, the IHME forecasts 949,000 COVID-related deaths in the United States by September. 

By the end of the pandemic, total deaths will rival the number of people who died in the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak, the IHME predicts. 

IHME estimated total COVID-19 deaths by comparing anticipated deaths from all causes based on pre-pandemic trends with the actual number of all-cause deaths during the pandemic. 

This "excess mortality" figure was then adjusted to remove deaths indirectly attributable to the pandemic (for example, due to people with non-COVID conditions avoiding health care facilities) as well as deaths averted by the pandemic (for example, declines in traffic deaths due to lower mobility). 

The resulting adjusted estimates include only deaths directly due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. You can learn more on IHME's website.

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