Excess mortality continues, but it is still unclear exactly why | Interior

Excess mortality continues, but it is still unclear exactly why | Interior
Excess mortality continues, but it is still unclear exactly why | Interior

More people than average still die in the Netherlands, but we don’t know exactly why. There was also so-called excess mortality in July, August and September 2022. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on Wednesday based on provisional figures on causes of death.

“The mortality is a bit upset,” says Ruben van Gaalen of CBS. “In the beginning of the pandemic, the corona peaks ran more or less parallel to the excess mortality. That changed slightly in the last part of 2021 and throughout 2022. The deaths are now more spread out over the year.”

The increase in the number of people who died after a fall partly explains the continuing excess mortality, says Statistics Netherlands. That share also increased in the third quarter. It is mainly people over eighty who die from this. Relatively often it concerns people with dementia.

More than two-thirds of all people who died from COVID-19 in the third quarter of last year were eighty or older. According to Van Gaalen, the proportion of over-90s in particular was relatively large. Thanks to the corona rules, they may have had a slightly longer life than they would have had if those measures had not been taken.

For example, the very oldest were also less exposed to the flu. They also stayed home more often, which reduced the chance of a fall.

People may be more vulnerable after corona infection

In the period from July to September, nearly 40,000 people died, 1,468 of whom (3.7 percent) from COVID-19, says CBS. The excess mortality was in numbers slightly greater than deaths from COVID-19. So corona doesn’t explain everything. Other, unproven effects may also play a role, says Van Gaalen.

For example, corona can also indirectly affect excess mortality. “Think of the delayed care,” says Van Gaalen. He also points to foreign studies, which state that people are more vulnerable for a period after a corona infection, especially the elderly. This can, for example, increase the risk of heart failure, as an American study showed last year.

The researcher also points to the two flu waves we had last year: in the spring and in December. It remains to be seen what the share of the last flu wave in the excess mortality will be. The causes of death in deaths in the last quarter of 2022 will not be known for several months.

In any case, the deaths are not a result of the corona shots. Van Gaalen emphasizes once again that there is no evidence for this. The vaccinations actually work well against death from COVID-19. They also do not increase the risk of mortality from other causes, RIVM and Statistics Netherlands reported last year after a study into excess mortality commissioned by the House of Representatives.

Zo komen de cijfers tot stand

  • Sinds het begin van de coronapandemie tot en met september 2022 registreerde het CBS ruim 46.000 mensen die overleden aan COVID-19. Dat zijn er ongeveer twee keer zoveel als de bijna 23.000 gevallen die het RIVM meldde in dezelfde periode.
  • Het verschil komt doordat het CBS zich baseert op basis van verklaringen van artsen over doodsoorzaken. Een dokter kan COVID-19 als doodsoorzaak vaststellen, zonder dat dit met een test is bevestigd.
  • Het RIVM is afhankelijk van meldingen van de GGD, maar die meldingen zijn niet verplicht. Opgaven van doodsoorzaken door artsen zijn dit wel.

Beeld: ANP

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The article is in Netherlands

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