A medical worker collects a nasal swab sample from a traveler in Subang, West Java, on Friday. (Antara Photo/Hafidz Mubarak A)

Indonesia's Covid-19 Death Toll More Than Double the Official Data: IHME Analysis


MAY 07, 2021

Jakarta. A new analysis from the University of Washington's Institute of Health Metric and Evaluations, or IHME, has suggested that the total number of Covid-19 deaths in Indonesia, as well as in the world, could be more than twice the reported figure, changing the picture about the scale and risk of the pandemic.

In Indonesia, the analysis estimated 116,000 people have died of the disease since the start of the pandemic in March, the institute said in a statement on Thursday. That was about 1.5 times larger than the total death figure of 46,000 until May 3, reported by the Health Ministry. 

The figure also means that, on a daily basis, Covid-19 has killed around 404 people on average since the pandemic began. At that level, Covid-19 was the third-highest cause of death in the country, after cardiovascular disease, which killed 1,638 people per day, and cancer, 545 per day. 

Globally, the analysis suggested 6.9 million people around the world have died from Covid-19, more than twice as many people as having been officially reported.

"Covid has been an extraordinary killer in the course of the pandemic so far," Christopher Murray, IHME's director, said in a recorded video briefing the institute published on Youtube. 

IHME based its analysis on week-by-week measurement of excess death rate during the pandemic compared to the expected death rate according to past trends and seasonality. 

The institute adjusted the estimation with six other factors, including the number of deaths increasing due to delayed treatment as hospitals overwhelmed by the pandemic.

As a result, the institutions found the Covid-19 mortality rate was, for some countries, many multiples larger than official reports.

Russia's estimated total deaths were around 594,000, almost six times the official report at around 109,000. In Egypt, the estimated number of deaths was around 170,000, or 13 times higher than the country’s official death toll, 13,500.

IHME analysis placed the United States with the highest Covid-19 death toll, with 905,000 people have died of Covid-19  since the start of the pandemic, or about 38 percent higher than the official estimate. 

"Our understanding about which country had major epidemics is changed by this shift and not just that the total number has been much worse than we thought," Murray said.