Report: Czech mortality rate massively increased in 2020 amid COVID pandemic

Statisticians didn't release the reasons for the higher death rate, but the COVID pandemic was likely one of the contributing factors.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 22.01.2021 10:00 (updated on 22.01.2021)

The Czech Republic saw 14 percent more deaths in the first 50 weeks of 2020 than the average from the same period in 2015-2019, while the highest mortality risk, by about one-fifth, was among seniors aged 75 to 84, according to preliminary data from the Czech Statistical Office (CSU).

CTK reports that statisticians didn't release the reasons for the higher death rate, but the COVID pandemic was likely one of the contributing factors. According to the Health Ministry's data, 9,840 people with the confirmed novel coronavirus infection died in the Czech Republic last year until the 50th week, which is mid-December.

From Jan. 1 until Dec. 13, 2020, 121,124 people died in the Czech Republic, with its population of 10.7 million, while during the first 50 weeks in the previous five years, it was 106,310 deaths on average. So last year, 13.9 percent more people died than the average.

The highest deviation from the average figures was in the 44th and 45th weeks, that is from Oct. 26 to Nov. 8. In both weeks, the death rate doubled compared to these weeks from the previous five years. Though the difference was declining from mid-November, the mortality was still above average.

According to the CSU statistics, the elderly over 65 years died considerably more than in 2015-19. Last year, until mid-December, 37,332 seniors over 85 died, which was 17 percent more than the average from 2015-19. Mortality in the age category of 75-84 years was 21.6 percent higher, while 12.4 percent more people aged 65-74 years died than the average of 2015-2019.

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On the contrary, relatively fewer young people died last year. In the first 50 weeks, almost 17 percent fewer children under 15 died compared to the five-year average and the death rate of those aged 15 to 39 years was 8.5 percent lower. Mortality in the age group from 40 to 64 years stagnated.

The COVID-19 epidemic might be behind the higher mortality last year, which the death curves according to the CSU data as well as the COVID death toll from the Health Ministry's data indicate.

The first novel coronavirus case appeared in the Czech Republic in early March last year. Until mid-March, the 2020 death rate was slightly below the five-year average. Then it was level before a slight rise took place ahead of a big jump towards the autumn

The ministry data also show a steep rise in the number of deaths with the confirmed COVID-19 infection from October with the highest daily death toll during the first decade of November.

However, the coronavirus epidemic was not the only reason for the 2020 higher mortality. The difference between the first 50 weeks of last year and the average from 2015-2019 is 14,800 deaths, while only 9,840 were of people with COVID-19. Meaning a difference of about 5,000 deaths which may have been caused by non-COVID related factors.