In 2020, among the 26 EU Member States for which data are available, there were 168 000 more deaths during weeks 10-26 (March – June) than the average number of deaths during the same period over the four years 2016 to 2019. These data include all deaths, irrespective of their causes, but can be useful for assessing the direct and indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the European population.
The peak of 36 000 additional deaths compared to the four year average was in week 14 (end March – beginning April). As from week 19 (beginning of May), there were under 5 000 additional deaths each week compared with the four year average. In week 25 (just after mid-June), 2 200 fewer deaths were recorded in 2020.
Spain and Italy – worst hit countries
Among the EU Member States, for which data are available, the highest number of additional deaths in 2020 during weeks 10-26 compared to the four year average 2016 to 2019 was recorded in Spain (48 000) followed closely by Italy (46 000), France (30 000), Germany and the Netherlands (each around 10 000). The remaining 21 Member States accounted together for 25 000 additional deaths in the same period.
Compared to the average number of deaths for years 2016-2019 more than double the number of deaths were recorded in Spain during weeks 13-15 followed by Belgium in week 15. More than 40% additional deaths were recorded in Italy over weeks 11-15, Spain in weeks 12 and 16, in Belgium weeks 13-14 and 16-17, in the Netherlands weeks 13-17, in France weeks 14-15, in Luxembourg week 15, in Sweden weeks 15-16 and in Cyprus weeks 20-21.
Bergamo in Italy and Segovia in Spain had the highest rate of additional deaths
Countries and regions were hit differently. In some parts of Europe, the difference compared to previous years was exceptionally high, while other areas were less severely affected. Analysis of weeks 10 to 26 (March-June) at regional level (NUTS 3) across Europe shows that the highest rates of additional deaths were in areas in Central Spain and Northern Italy. Compared to the average number of deaths for years 2016 to 2019, the biggest increase in the number of deaths was noticed in Bergamo (Northern Italy) with a peak in week 12 of 895% increase followed by Segovia in Spain (634%) in week 13.
Men more affected in March and end May; women in April
Increases in mortality in the weeks 10 to 26 in 2020 affected men and women differently. For the 26 Member States with available data, there were more deaths of men than of women in March (weeks 12 to 14) and end May-early June (weeks 20 to 23). More deaths of women than of men were recorded in April – early May (weeks 15 to 19). At the beginning of June, as from week 24, the numbers of deaths for men and women were both equal to 32 000 deaths weekly.
Those aged 70 years and over were the most affected
During weeks 10 to 26 in 2020, in the 26 Member States with available data, those aged 70 years and over accounted for 161 000 or 96% of the 168 000 additional deaths recorded compared to the four-year average 2016-2019. During the same period, this age group represented 76% of all deaths in the population in 2016-2019 and 78% of all deaths in 2020.