A message on WhatsApp circulating under the heading “statistics to amaze you” claims details of deaths that happened due to a range of causes including Covid-19. However, the message is silent about the source and time period of the data making its authenticity doubtful. The message says the data is from the last three months of 2021 but accurate data on the death causes except Covid 19 is not available in the public domain. Therefore, we have undertaken the fact check with the help of authentic information available for each cause of death published in the last two years.
Covid 19: As per the reports of WHO, 8,50,055 covid death cases were reported in the period between 2021 June to August. Therefore, the claim in the WhatsApp message that 3,14,687 died due to Covid 19 in the last three months of 2021 is baseless.
Road accident deaths: WHO in their last reports on road accidents released in 2018 says that 1.3 million (13 lakh) people die every year in road accidents. The total cases being this much, its quarterly average is 3,25,000 cases. Therefore, the claim in the message that 3,93,479 people died in road accidents requires more clarification. Authentic and latest information on global road accident deaths held in 2021 is not available. Along with this, as all world countries have imposed Covid induced lockdowns and related restrictions, there are high chances for a reduced number of road accident deaths.
Malaria: The latest statistics for 2021 are not available. However, as per the WHO’s data on Malaria published in 2019, the total malaria cases were 4,09,000. The average of quarterly death cases in 2019 will be 1,02,250. With improved treatment facilities and prevention strategies, there are high chances for fatality cases caused by Malaria to come down in 2021. Therefore, the claim in the message that it has gone past three lakh in the three months of 2021 is factually wrong and misleading.
Suicide: As per the statistics in the WhatsApp message, 3,53,696 people around the globe, ended their lives in the last three months alone. But, according to the data published by the world population review, Lesotho, a southern African country has witnessed 3,90,793 suicides in the last three months. Hence, the statistics on suicides given in the message is wrong.
HIV-AIDS: According to UN-AIDS, the quarterly average of those who died due to HIV-AIDS in 2020 is 1,70,000. Therefore, the number of deaths due to HIV AIDS in the last three months of 2021, cannot exceed two lakhs. Therefore, the data of 2,40,000 deaths due to AIDS is baseless.
Cancer: According to the data reports published by the Global Cancer Observatory, the quarterly average of cancer deaths that happened in 2018 is 2,38,756. Whereas the figure of cancer deaths mentioned in the message amounts to nearly six times this average. Therefore 11,67,714 cancer deaths reported in the last three months is baseless.
Deaths due to alcohol: WHO’s ‘global status report on alcohol’ says that every three months about 75,000 people die worldwide due to various medical complications caused by alcohol consumption. It also involves deaths due to various cancers induced by alcoholism.
Smoking: According to the article, the global burden on diseases collaboration, published in Lancet, the quarterly average of smoking-induced deaths reported in 2019 is 19 lakhs. Whereas in the message, global deaths caused by smoking is not even half of this average (8,16,498).
Through keyword search, we were able to find out that Covid-19 data given in the message is taken from the website of China’s National Centre for diseases and it is about the Covid-19 deaths in China.
It is unreasonable to compare Covid-19 data with non-communicable diseases like cancer. The sources of the data given in the message are also unknown. Therefore, refrain from spreading such baseless messages on social media platforms