SHARE
COPY LINK

COVID-19

In charts: How coronavirus mortality rates compared around Europe

A new study has revealed how European countries and major cities compared when it comes to death rates during the coronavirus pandemic.

In charts: How coronavirus mortality rates compared around Europe
A coronavirus patient is treated at a hospital in Madrid. Photo: AFP

The study concluded that that in the first half of 2020 England had “the longest continuous period of excess mortality of any country compared, resulting in England having the highest levels of excess mortality in Europe for the period as a whole”.

It also found that Spain had the highest peak level of excess deaths – meaning that at a particular stage in the crisis the situation in Spain was worse than anywhere else in Europe.

The study was carried out by the Office for National Statistics in the UK because of the “considerable interest in international comparisons of mortality during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.”

The ONS said: “The best way of comparing the mortality impact internationally is by looking at all-cause mortality rates by local area, region and country compared with the five-year average.

“All-cause mortality avoids the problem of different countries recording Covid-19 deaths in different ways, and also takes into account the indirect impact of the pandemic, such as deaths from other causes that might be related to delayed access to healthcare.”

The study also concluded that when local authority areas were compared rather than countries, the highest rates of excess deaths were in central Spain and northern Italy. 

The highest peak was in the city of Bergamo in northern Italy, where excess deaths reached 847.7 percent in the week ending March 20th.

Edward Morgan, Health Analysis and Life Events at the Office for National Statistics said: “Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the first half of 2020 saw extraordinary increases in mortality rates across countries in Western Europe above the 2015 to 2019 average. 

“The highest peak excess mortality at national level was in Spain, with some local areas in Northern Italy and Central Spain having excess mortality levels as high as 847.7 percent of the average. 

“While none of the four UK nations had a peak mortality level as high as Spain or the worst-hit local areas of Spain and Italy, excess mortality was geographically widespread throughout the UK during the pandemic, whereas it was more geographically localised in most countries of Western Europe.”

When it came to comparing cities, Madrid had the highest peak level of excess deaths. 

In Madrid they reached 432.7 percent in the week ending March 27th.

 

The chart below shows overall excess death rates in cities until the end of May. Madrid had the overall largest number of excess deaths. The dotted line represents the 5-year average with the light being over 65s and the dark blue under 65s.
 
 
 
When it comes to regions, this list shows the regions around Europe that had the highest mortality rates at the peaks of their epidemics.
 
 
 
 
 
This Interactive map below shows relative age-standardised mortality rates by week in regions of Europe.
 
 

 

You can view more charts and data in the ONS report HERE.

Member comments

  1. Wondering why you don’t include Ireland too? It is part of the EU and many of us Irish are living in France and would appreciate being included in the statistics.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

HEALTH

EXPLAINED: How Switzerland wants to cut soaring healthcare costs

Swiss health costs have been rising in recent years, with further spikes, including in insurance premiums, seen as inevitable. The government is proposing measures to counter this upward trend.

EXPLAINED: How Switzerland wants to cut soaring healthcare costs

Based on the information released by Santésuisse, an umbrella group for health insurance companies, an overall increase of around 4 percent for 2023 will be the norm.

Unfortunately for the consumers, who are already hard-hit by rising energy costs, premiums for compulsory health insurance will likely rise by an average of 5 percent in the fall, according to online price comparison site, Comparis.

And many people could even see their premiums soar by more than 10 percent in 2023 — the sharpest hike in premiums in 20 years.

The exact amounts of premiums for all policyholders will be released by the end of October.

The price hikes are not a new phenomenon per se: over the past 20 years, costs have risen at twice the rate of economic growth, resulting in health insurance premiums that are 90 percent higher than in 2002.

READ MORE: How spiralling costs are jeopardising Switzerland’s healthcare system

Why have these costs been increasing so much?

Part of the reason is the fact that people in Switzerland have a high life expectancy, but as they get older, they tend to suffer from chronic, cost-intensive diseases.

The more recent hikes can be attributed to higher medical costs incurred during the two years of coronavirus pandemic, estimated to cost insurers over one billion francs so far, not even taking into account about 265 million spent for Covid vaccinations in 2021.

Add to that the cost (paid for by the government) of Covid tests, as well as booster shots administered in 2022, and those still to be given once Switzerland rolls out second doses in 2023.

How will the government cut these costs?

Santésuisse has been urging the Federal Council to implement a range of reforms to reduce costs and ensure that not so many are passed on to consumers. 

On Wednesday, authorities announced a package of measures aimed at controlling costs. “These measures will improve medical care and contain rising costs in the healthcare system”, the Federal Council said.

Coordinated networks

These care networks are seen as a way to reduce unnecessary medical services. 

“They bring together health professionals from several disciplines to provide ‘all-in-one’ medical care. They improve coordination throughout the treatment chain, for example when various specialists are caring for an elderly person with several chronic diseases”, Federal Council said in a statement.

Hospitals, pharmacies, and various therapists would be attached to the network, and all treatments “will be invoiced at once, as if it were a single supplier”.

Right now, all service providers invoice insurance carriers separately, which adds to administrative costs; the new system is also believed to provide a better oversight and control, and eliminate unnecessary or redundant medical treatments, Health Minister Alain Berset said during a press conference in Bern on Wednesday.

Faster and cheaper access to medicines

The government also wants to guarantee “fast and as inexpensive as possible access to expensive innovative medicines”.

To achieve this, it wants to “anchor in the law” an already widely-used practice: to conclude pricing agreements with pharmaceutical companies. It would mean that drug manufacturers would have to reimburse a portion of the price to insurers.

“This measure makes it possible to guarantee rapid access to these drugs, while limiting their price”, authorities said.

Electronic invoicing

Another measure will require all providers of inpatient and outpatient services to send their invoices to insurance companies in electronic form — seen as a quicker, more effective and cheaper way to transmit billing information.

These measures “will make it possible to curb the rise in costs,” the Federal Council said, adding that “it is not yet possible to estimate the concrete extent of these savings, which would depend on how the health system will implement the measures”.

It is now up to the MPs to debate these proposals.

READ MORE: Why Swiss health premiums are set to rise — and what you can do about it

SHOW COMMENTS