World News

Official COVID-19 death toll probably underestimates true total - WHO

Relatives mourn the death of a man due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a crematorium in New Delhi, India September 28, 2020. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) - The official global toll of deaths from COVID-19 probably underestimates the true total - suggesting it could be over a million already, a World Health Organization official said on Monday.

“If anything, the numbers currently reported probably represent an underestimate of those individuals who have either contracted COVID-19 or died as a cause of it,” Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert, told a briefing in Geneva.

“When you count anything, you can’t count it perfectly but I can assure you that the current numbers are likely an underestimate of the true toll of COVID,” he said.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, Emma Farge, Mike Shields and Kate Kelland, editing by Andrew Heavens