NPR/As the world approaches the 1 million mark for COVID-19 fatalities, public health experts believe the actual toll – the recorded deaths plus the unrecorded deaths – is much higher.

According to World Health Organization data, each year, two-thirds of global deaths are not registered with local authorities. That’s a total of 38 million annual deaths that aren’t part of any permanent record. Not only are the numbers not part of any global death tally, but the cause of death is also not recorded — leaving policymakers without critical information about population trends and health.

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