The coronavirus has killed over 600,000 people in Mexico, according to health researchers who found that the Latin American nation's Covid-19 death toll is almost three times higher than the official total.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine published an analysis Thursday estimating that 617,127 people have died from Covid-19 in Mexico based on adjusted excess death rates.
The number is 183 percent higher than Mexico’s official death toll, which rose to 218,007 on Wednesday.
“As terrible as the Covid-19 pandemic appears, this analysis shows that the actual toll is significantly worse,” Dr. Chris Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, said in a statement.
In Mexico, large numbers of people have died at home without being tested for Covid-19. Additionally, Mexico’s testing rate remains low, at about 51,000 tests per million people, according to German statistics portal Statista.
But the challenge to accurately account for all Covid-19 deaths echoes around the world, Murray said, adding that many Covid-19 deaths go unreported because most countries only report deaths that occur in hospitals or among patients with a confirmed infection.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates the coronavirus has killed approximately 6.9 million people globally, more than double what official numbers show, meaning "Covid-19 deaths are significantly underreported in almost every country."
Based on the estimates, Mexico has recorded the third highest number of Covid-19 deaths, after the United States and India.
Researchers estimate that Covid-19 has claimed the lives of 905,289 people in the United States, which is about 56 percent higher than its official death toll of about 575,000.
In India, researchers estimate more than 654,000 people have died of Covid-19, which is also about three times higher than its official death toll of 221,181.
According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the global Covid-19 death toll is about 3.25 million and Mexico ranks fourth for fatalities, behind the United States, Brazil and India.
Mexican officials admitted in March that the country's true Covid-19 death toll is significantly higher than originally reported, estimating deaths were only 60 percent higher than official data. Their estimate of about 320,000 fatalities is dwarfed by that of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
“Many countries have devoted exceptional effort to measuring the pandemic’s toll, but our analysis shows how difficult it is to accurately track a new and rapidly spreading infectious disease," Murray said in the statement. “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.”