November 25, 2020

Deaths in the EU have increased by 170,000 people during the first wave of the pandemic, 48,000 of them in Spain



In 2020, among the 26 EU Member States for which data are available, there were 168,000 more deaths during weeks 10 to 26 (March-June) than the average number of deaths during the same period between 2016 and 2019, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU, published this Monday.

The data includes all deaths, regardless of their causes, but can be useful to assess the direct and indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the European population.

The peak of 36,000 additional deaths compared to the four-year average was in week 14 (late March – early April). As of week 19 (early May), there were fewer than 5,000 additional deaths each week compared to the four-year average. In week 25 (just after mid-June), 2,200 fewer deaths were recorded in 2020.

Among the EU Member States, for which data are available, the highest number of additional deaths in 2020 during weeks 10 to 26 compared to the average for the years 2016 to 2019 was registered in Spain (48,000), followed closely by Italy (46,000), France (30,000), Germany and the Netherlands (each around 10,000). The remaining 21 Member States together accounted for 25,000 additional deaths in the same period.

Compared to the average number of deaths during the years 2016-2019, more than double the number of deaths was recorded in Spain during weeks 13-15, followed by Belgium in week 15.

More than 40% of additional deaths were recorded in Italy during weeks 11-15; Spain, in weeks 12 and 16; in Belgium, in weeks 13-14 and 16-17; in the Netherlands, in weeks 13-17; in France, in weeks 14-15; in Luxembourg, in week 15; in Sweden, in weeks 15-16; and in Cyprus, in weeks 20-21.

Countries and regions were affected differently, Eurostat notes. In some parts of Europe, the difference compared to previous years was exceptionally high, while other areas were less affected. Analysis of weeks 10 to 26 (March-June) at the regional level in Europe shows that the highest rates of additional deaths were recorded in areas of central Spain and northern Italy.

Compared to the average number of deaths from the years 2016 to 2019, the largest increase in the number of deaths was observed in Bergamo (northern Italy) with a peak in week 12 of an increase of 895%, followed by Segovia in Spain (634%) in week 13.

Increases in mortality in weeks 10 to 26 in 2020 affected men and women differently. In the 26 Member States with available data, there were more deaths of men than women in March (weeks 12-14) and between the end of May and the beginning of June (weeks 20-23).

There were more deaths of women than men in April and early May (weeks 15-19). At the beginning of June, starting from week 24, the number of deaths of men and women equaled 32,000 weekly deaths.

During weeks 10 to 26 of 2020, in the 26 Member States with available data, people aged 70 and over accounted for 161,000 or 96% of the additional 168,000 recorded deaths compared to the four-year average 2016-2019.

In this period, this age group accounted for 76% of all deaths in the population in 2016-2019 and 78% of all deaths in 2020.

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