WHO: 15 million dead – {Sciences²}

there”grippette», «the easiest respiratory infection to treat» By Didier Raoult, COVID-19 therefore killed about 15 million times in two years. This is confirmed by a group of the World Health Organization (WHO) in an article published today in a scientific journal Nature.

This 15 million is much higher than the 5.42 million deaths officially recorded and declared by States. But it is certain that many countries could not or did not want to implement this vision properly. Hence, the patient work of epidemiologists, based on demographic statistics, total mortality, to correct this inaccuracy. The WHO team has developed a mathematical model that makes all data and methods open and verifiable to more realistically measure the real impact of the pandemic. A tool that takes into account variables such as the age structure of the population to calculate a “score” of the difference between the number of deaths officially attributed to COVID-19 and the reality.

Analysis of demographic data compared to official declarations of death due to COVID-19 shows a sometimes significant gap, highlighted by variable reliability of overall mortality data.

The difference between official declarations and deductions from demographic data studies varies greatly from country to country. It is very low in Western Europe or North America, and exceeds 40% in Latin American, African and Asian countries. Because the reliability of demographic data is also variable, researchers reach a death range of 13.23 million to 16.58 million, with a best estimate of 14.83 million. Deaths are estimated at 5 million in 2020 and 10 million in 2021.

It is India that presents the biggest difference between official and real deaths, but also the biggest uncertainty about the latter figure, an uncertainty that is not the opposite of certainty: the real death toll there is much higher than the official figure.

However, assessing the scale of this epidemic cannot be limited to this number. Because it has been achieved through luck and limiting mass economic and social activities on a planetary scale. Good luck? Yes, because at the moment there is no effective treatment – with the exception of the antiviral Paxlovid from Pfizer, which has been allowed by the government to write a “conditional prescription” to facilitate its rapid use after the first symptoms. vaccinations were unprecedented in medical history. A speed related to the scale of the epidemic that “provides” the planetary mobilization of researchers and doctors and the cohorts that allow for massive and rapid testing of vaccines. At the same time, to previous work in fundamental biology that allowed the use of a new technology called “RNA” vaccination.

But it was lucky, because the same mobilization can do nothing when nature resists, as shown by the virus responsible for AIDS, for which there is still no effective vaccine. Therefore, we owe this happy meeting of the ingenuity of scientists and the properties of the virus to the availability of vaccines, which not only slow down the spread of the virus, but above all prevent about 90% of serious forms. and therefore deaths.

160,000 against a million

In other words… for a properly vaccinated population like France, one can predict the cataclysm that the lack of measures to limit social contact, combined with failure to vaccinate, to slow the spread of the virus. make vaccines. The epidemic, which caused an estimated 160,000 deaths in two years, would have killed a million people nationally. And the apocalyptic situation in hospitals completely overwhelmed by an uncontrollable influx, among other dramatic consequences.

A December 11 bulletin from the French Public Health Service estimates nearly 160,000 deaths due to Sars-COV-2 since the outbreak began. According to the WHO study, a slightly underestimated figure, especially since it does not take into account deaths at home.

The magnitude of this preventable disaster is not necessarily accepted by the population. It is often difficult to convince oneself that something that does not happen can be prevented only by decisive action. There is no France-B without measures restricting economic and social activities and without a vaccine that can be used for demonstration. However, this estimate is not questionable when we know the death rate caused by the virus in the population groups before these two types of protective measures were introduced.


Scientists and doctors, as well as politicians and journalists, are advised to take on this task: to prevent the disaster and convince them of the decisive role of vaccines. This understanding of the dramatic episode we have just experienced, or vice versa, its lack of understanding, can indeed determine the future attitudes and decisions of populations facing similar problems. Learning the right lessons from the health crisis due to COVID-19 can only arm us for future crises.

Among these lessons, some are worth highlighting.

The first is the simplest: do not forgive, do not forget the mistakes made. Those of political power, I will return to them later. But also the media representatives, journalists, rare scientists and doctors who trample on their professional ethics, spread lies and deceit, and cause irreparable suffering and death.

” I do not know “

The second is for politicians: never miss an opportunity to say “I dont know” ! When a disease emerges, when a new virus acquires an unknown virulent mutation, the state of science is “research.” So explore the unknown. Under these conditions, wanting to show the posture of a power that knows all the time, abusing communication formulas, oversimplifying… this is the guarantee of statements that will contradict the facts.

Rather, it is the moment when the policymaker must know how to accept the uncertainty of knowledge and educate about the decision made under this uncertainty and ambiguity. That way, we would have avoided rambling statements that contradict the facts on the masks, the way the virus spreads, or the ability of vaccines to prevent any transmission. This cautious stance is obviously not going to pay off politically speaking in the near future. Especially for politicians who fully accept the disastrous slide of public debate into a sterile clash of punchlines, language elements and communication plans, where the truth is entirely accidental. We desperately need politicians who can tell us the truth, so “I don’t know” when they speak.

Journalists have a role to play in this: they must accept, even promote, politicians and scientists who adhere to this prudence and this honesty, even if the truth they have to say is “I don’t know”… sales and audiences, strong endorsements, confrontations and debates will bring them to the top.

Crisis exercises

The third is addressed to political leaders and is related to their relationship with scientific practice. This crisis has once again shown their distrust of the independent expert evaluation systems they put in place, especially agencies such as the Haute Autorité de Santé, which are intended to compensate for the shortcomings of the ministries’ central administrations. Hence the massive use of private consulting firms condemned by the Court of Auditors and the report of the Senate commission of inquiry by Senator Eliane Assassi (PCF).

Published on December 14, 2022 in Le Monde magazine by Aurel.

Hence the proliferation of ad hoc “committees” with missions that are often created too late and may overlap. The High Authority for Health received no additional resources – loans or human reinforcements – during this crisis, although its activities were intensified at the cost of understaffing. What we need more is to improve long-term systems like the HAS, and in particular to give them the means to become a crisis organization when necessary through regular exercises in the mode used by the Nuclear Safety Agency and the Radiation Institute. Nuclear Safety and Security.

The latter (for this article) is for scholars and the heads of their institutions. be (more) brave. Do not hesitate to punish the wrongdoers in your ranks, especially when they deviate from ethics under the banner of academic freedom. But again, do not hesitate to correct mistakes and fakes by media and journalists who are looking for what sells (audience for increasing paper or advertising revenue) without respecting professional ethics. And finally, be patient when politicians make mistakes. Like delaying action at the very beginning of a crisis. Or Emmanuel Macron’s inconsistency will appear to Didier Raoult at a time when he could pass for a politically profitable advertisement. An episode experienced as a stab in the back by the scientists and doctors responsible for advising government agencies in this crisis.

Sylvester Huet

► Health crisis and journalism

► The CNRS Ethics Committee accuses Didier Raoult.

► Can so many deaths be prevented?

► Experts, the media and the health crisis.

► COVID, lies and sociology.

► Hydroxychloroquine counterfeit

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