Excess mortality rises to 14 percent in the last week of November

IAccording to preliminary calculations, at least 84,480 people died in Germany in November. As reported by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), that was 11 percent or 8186 more people than the average number of deaths in November between 2016 and 2019. This emerges from a special evaluation of the preliminary deaths up to the end of November. The last time there were more than 80,000 deaths in a November was in 1974 – at that time 81,006 cases were counted.

The difference in the number of deaths from the average of the four previous years increased over all weeks of November. A total of 20,699 deaths have been reported so far for the last week of the month, i.e. the 48th calendar week from November 23 to 29 – that’s 14 percent or 2525 more cases. The number of deaths of people previously laboratory-confirmed with Covid-19 rose at the same time from week to week. In the 48th calendar week, there were a total of 2579 Covid 19 deaths reported to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). That is 639 cases more than in the previous week. Meanwhile, the recorded daily deaths are significantly higher: On Tuesday, according to the RKI, there was a new high of 1129 deaths within 24 hours in connection with the coronavirus, although, as expected, fewer cases are reported than under normal circumstances.

The above-average number of deaths in November 2020 is almost exclusively due to an increase in deaths in the age group of people 80 years and over. Here there was an increase of 19 percent. In contrast, the number of deaths among those under 80 was at the level of previous years. According to the RKI figures, deaths from Covid-19 occur more frequently in people aged 80 and over.

In the long term, the age structure of the population has also changed in recent years. The number of people aged 80 and over increased from 4.7 to 5.7 million between 2015 and 2019. In addition to the direct and indirect consequences of the corona pandemic, such shifts in the age structure of the population can also contribute to above-average death rates. On the other hand, the measures to contain the pandemic, from mask compulsory to lockdown, can also mean that fewer deaths are caused by other infectious diseases such as flu, which also affects the difference to the average for the past four years. For this reason alone, death numbers cannot provide any information about the frequency of individual causes of death.

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