An extra 267,000 infants will likely have died in 2020 in low and middle income countries as a result of the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, finds a modelling study, published in the online journal BMJ Open.

This toll is 7% higher than expected for the year, say the World Bank economist authors.

The global economy is expected to have contracted almost 5% in the first year of the pandemic, increasing the numbers of people living in poverty by 120 million.

And unlike economic crises in high-income countries, these shocks in low-income countries generally increase deaths among vulnerable groups, such as young children and the elderly.

Previously published projections of the likely impact of the pandemic on indirect deaths–those not caused by COVID-19 itself–have focused on the extent of assumed disruptions to essential health services.

The authors of this study looked instead at the impact of the aggregate…

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