50% more deaths in Europe between late March and early April, according to INSEE

50% more deaths in Europe between late March and early April, according to INSEE

According to the National Institute of Statistics, mortality peaked in March in Europe, with a 50% increase in deaths by the end of the month.

© Fred TANNEAU © 2019 AFP
A member of health care staff performs a coronavirus test in Quiberon on July 57

The Covid-19 epidemic caused an excess mortality peak in Europe of 50% more deaths between the end of March and the beginning of April, according to figures from theInsee showing that France, Spain, Belgium and Italy were the most affected.

While in previous years mortality tended to decrease in March after the seasonal flu episodes, it has on the contrary increased significantly this year, reaching a peak, both in France and in Europe, the week of March 30, reveals Wednesday the National Institute of Statistics.

60% more deaths in France over a week

Thus, between March 30 and April 6, 50% more deaths were recorded in Europe compared to an average based on the number of deaths the same week for the period 2016-2019. This proportion reached 60% in France, 155% in Spain, 91% in Belgium then 107% the following week and 67% in Italy then 88% the previous week, the peak having been reached a week earlier. The excess mortality was then gradually reduced to almost cancel out at the beginning of May.

Disparities in Europe

More broadly, for a period from March 2 to April 26, almost the bulk (84%) of the excess mortality observed in the 21 European countries for which INSEE has had data is attributable to Spain, to Italy, Belgium and France. The excess mortality was respectively 71% in Spain, 49% in Italy, 44% in Belgium and 28% in France over the whole of the eight weeks when the epidemic was strongest. Conversely, in Germany, the most populous country in Europe, excess mortality is much lower (4% over the same period), as for a large part of the countries of central and eastern Europe. Both in France and in Europe, the increase in mortality has affected men and people over 50 more, particularly those over 70.

Video: Concern grows in Germany after rise in Covid-19 infections (Euronews)




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