Between March 2020 and the end of March 2021, in the European Union and EFTA countries for which data are available, there were around 720 000 more deaths, compared with the average number in 2016-2019.
After a decrease in January and February 2021, the number of deaths levelled out in March, when the decrease in some countries was in contrast to a moderate increase in others. There were increases in Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland and notable decreases in Spain, Portugal and Finland.
Source data: demo_r_mwk_ts
The data presented above represent deaths due to all causes. The international comparability of data directly associated with COVID-19 may be arguable due to different rules of causes of death classification, and coverage issues. In a pandemic, the specific mortality may be higher than what initially registered, for several reasons. In some countries, statistics may initially exclude victims who did not officially test positive for coronavirus. Delays in registration may also create lags and flaws in the data. Finally, a pandemic with lockdown measures can discourage people from going to a hospital or consult a doctor, making harder to cure other diseases, which may indirectly lead to an increase in deaths from causes other than the pandemic itself. The death rate draws attention to the magnitude of the health crisis by providing a comprehensive comparison of additional deaths from all causes.
For more information:
- Take a look at the Statistics Explained article Weekly death statistics.
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