World Health Organization researchers explain why high-profile mortality estimates for Germany and Sweden were incorrect.

Following a barrage of questions about the original WHO report, which was published in early May, scientists in the World Health Organization (WHO) have rectified some surprising errors in the pandemic’s death toll estimates.

In a modification to a technical paper on their methodologies, researchers reduced Germany’s pandemic-related mortality rate estimate by 37%, bringing its excess mortality rate below that of the UK and Spain. They also increased their estimate for Sweden by 19%.

The WHO survey, published on May 5, calculated excess death rates for 194 countries, which are defined as increases in mortality over expected levels. According to the organization, between January 2020 and December 2021, the pandemic killed between 13.3 million to 16.6 million people worldwide, which is more than 2.5 times the amount of reported COVID-19 deaths. The assumption was more conservative than those found in other excess deaths studies.

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