2020 EUROSTAT All Cause Mortality Update (to W26 & W32)

Germany and Portugal continue to have the worst all-cause death rates in Western Europe. Sweden continues to have one of the lowest all-cause mortality rates in Europe as the UK achieves a lower death rate than Spain after easing lockdown.

2020 EUROSTAT All Cause Mortality Update (to W26 & W32)

A few weeks ago, I provided analysis of the Europe-wide All Cause Mortality data from EUROSTAT. The data provided by the UK to Eurostat nows goes up to Week 32 of 2020, this is the week ending the 9th August 2020. Whilst 30 countries have now provided data to Week 26, 20 such European countries have provided data to Week 32. For example; Italy has provided data to Week 26 but not to Week 32.

We know COVID-19 deaths are recorded differently in different parts of the same countries, let alone from country to country. We further know that excess death metrics are effected by baseline death rates and flu seasonality. All Cause Mortality provides the best impact for understanding death rates from country-t0-country during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the basis of the best mechanism to compare different countries performances. In essence, the all-cause mortality rate is the amount of the population that died in a given interval of time.

The data used is the Eurostat deaths by week & age, updated to the 11th September 2020. Population data is obtained using Eurostat's population on 1st January data. The chart below provides updated EUROSTAT all-cause mortality rates to Week 26, 2020:

Below provides a comparison chart to Week 32, 2020 - there are less countries but the overall trend largely remains the same. The one exception is that Spain now sits between the UK and Germany for mortality rates - this indicates that UK mortality has improved in relative terms to Spain. Given the pandemic arrived in the UK later than Spain, this improvement may continue due to the effect of displaced mortality. Data from Italy is not yet available.

In conclusion - high all-cause death statistics in countries like Portugal and Germany continue to cover the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst countries like the UK, Spain and Italy have higher death rates than is typical - they continue to perform better than such countries. Sweden continues to outperform similar countries and has one of the lowest mortality rates in Europe.

Over the past few months, Europe has focussed on how countries with relatively low levels of mortality have slightly increased their death rates. Perhaps the real challenge for public policy to address is why there is such grave disparities in mortality rates between East and West Europe, and why it is seen as acceptable for Germany and Portugal to continue to have such high baseline death rates.