The death toll from the coronavirus can be almost 60% higher than the official estimate, according to the newspaper “financial times” the total deaths during the pandemic in 14 countries.
Statistics show higher-than-normal mortality for 122 thousands of deaths. This is much more than 77 thousand deaths from Covid-19 registered in these countries officially.
If the underestimation of similar magnitude was observed worldwide, the number of victims Covid-19 worldwide would grow from 201 thousand, according to official data, up to 318 thousand.
To calculate excess mortality, we compared overall mortality from all causes in a few weeks after the outbreak in March and April 2020, with the average for the same period from 2015 to 2019. The total number of 122 thousand means a 50% increase in mortality relative to the historical average for the studied sites.
In all the countries considered except Denmark, the excess mortality is much higher than the official number of deaths from the coronavirus. The accuracy of official statistics of mortality from the virus is limited by several factors, including the frequency and effectiveness of testing. Some countries — such as China — later revised the death toll upward.
According to “financial times”, the total mortality during the pandemic was higher compared to the same period in previous years in Belgium 60%, Spain 51%, the Netherlands — 42% France — 34%.
Not all of these deaths are associated with coronavirus infection and could be due to other causes, as patients with other diseases try to avoid hospitals and do not receive proper treatment. However, the most dramatically excess mortality increased where there is seen the sharp flash Covid-19 — this suggests that most of them are not just the effects of quarantine and associated with the virus directly.
Professor of public evaluation of risk at Cambridge University David Spiegelhalter (David Spiegelhalter) called the daily count of the victims in the UK “low”, since it takes into account only the hospital death.
“The only way to fairly compare the different countries is to consider the all-cause mortality. <…> To the death certificate, which indicates not infacia coronavirus, and another reason, there are a number of issues. There is a feeling that they are somehow associated with the epidemic.”
Excess mortality most pronounced in the urban areas most affected by the virus, and in some of them reporting mechanisms are completely broken. This is particularly disturbing for a number of emerging economies, where the total excess mortality is several orders of magnitude higher than the official statistics of deaths from the coronavirus.
In the Ecuadorian province of Guayas in the period from 1 March to 15 April reported a total of 245 deaths from coronavirus infection, but the overall death rate exceeded the average for 10 to 200 people — an increase of 350%.
In almost 1 700 municipalities in the Northern Italian province of Lombardy, which has become the epicenter of the worst outbreak in Europe, officially registered more than 13 thousand deaths. That’s 155% above the average mortality in the past and several times more 4 348 officially confirmed deaths from the coronavirus.
In the vicinity of the Italian city of Bergamo is celebrated the worst growth at the international level: the level of mortality was higher than normal at 464%. On the second place new York with an increase of 200% and the Spanish capital Madrid with a growth of 161%.
In the Indonesian capital Jakarta data about the graves show an increase in 1 400 deaths is 15 times higher than the official statistics according to which from coronavirus infection has died 90 people.
And this phenomenon is not confined to the developing world. In England and Wales the mortality rate for the second week of April was the highest in this century. It is 76% above the average mortality for the same week over the past five years and 58% higher than the official number of victims of coronavirus in the same period.
“If we want to understand how different countries reacted to the spread of the pandemic and how it affected the health of the population, the best way is to calculate excess mortality,” — said the Professor of epidemiology at the London school of hygiene and tropical medicine David Leon (David Leon).
Experts warn about the serious underreporting of cases Covid-19 in nursing homes, which are particularly vulnerable to the virus. “Only a few countries systematically check the patients and staff of nursing homes,” says researcher of the Center for health policy and evaluation at the London school of Economics Adelina comas-Herrera (Adelina Comas-Herrera).
But an even higher number of victims of the pandemic, which involves statistics of excess mortality, can be a modest estimate. Because of the quarantine could decrease mortality from other causes — in particular, road traffic accidents and accidents on the production, says associate Professor of the Department of demography of the Prague University of Economics Market Penhollow (Markéta Pechholdová).