Comparison of pandemic excess mortality in 2020–2021 across different empirical calculations release_bpvgcvfc7bhidn34rlzbmmttr4

by Michael Levitt, Francesco Zonta, John Ioannidis

Published in Environmental Research by Elsevier BV.

2022   Volume 213, p113754


Different modeling approaches can be used to calculate excess deaths for the COVID-19 pandemic period. We compared 6 calculations of excess deaths (4 previously published [3 without age-adjustment] and two new ones that we performed with and without age-adjustment) for 2020-2021. With each approach, we calculated excess deaths metrics and the ratio R of excess deaths over recorded COVID-19 deaths. The main analysis focused on 33 high-income countries with weekly deaths in the Human Mortality Database (HMD at and reliable death registration. Secondary analyses compared calculations for other countries, whenever available. Across the 33 high-income countries, excess deaths were 2.0-2.8 million without age-adjustment, and 1.6-2.1 million with age-adjustment with large differences across countries. In our analyses after age-adjustment, 8 of 33 countries had no overall excess deaths; there was a death deficit in children; and 0.478 million (29.7%) of the excess deaths were in people <65 years old. In countries like France, Germany, Italy, and Spain excess death estimates differed 2 to 4-fold between highest and lowest figures. The R values' range exceeded 0.3 in all 33 countries. In 16 of 33 countries, the range of R exceeded 1. In 25 of 33 countries some calculations suggest R > 1 (excess deaths exceeding COVID-19 deaths) while others suggest R < 1 (excess deaths smaller than COVID-19 deaths). Inferred data from 4 evaluations for 42 countries and from 3 evaluations for another 98 countries are very tenuous. Estimates of excess deaths are analysis-dependent and age-adjustment is important to consider. Excess deaths may be lower than previously calculated.
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Type  article-journal
Stage   published
Date   2022-06-23
Language   en ?
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ISSN-L:  0013-9351
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