Excess mortality in EU and Belgium fell to 6% in June

Excess mortality in EU and Belgium fell to 6% in June
Credit: Belga

Across the European Union, excess mortality fell to 6% in June this year, down significantly from the last major Covid-related peak recorded in November 2021 (27%).

Over the past two years, excess mortality – the number of deaths from all causes measured during a crisis, above what could be observed in "normal" conditions – has been high in the EU, with peaks in November 2020 (40%) and November 2021 (26.5%).

While Covid-19 is still not over, the EU seems to be over the worst of it – something that is seemingly reflected by the excess mortality figures this year. The highest value recorded this year was in April (11.2%), which was only half as high as the previous April peaks in 2020 (25%) and 2021 (21%) and only a quarter of the maximum recorded since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In June this year, the EU-wide average even dropped to 'just' 6%, according to figures published by the European statistics office Eurostat on Wednesday.

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Still, this average hides large differences between Member States: Portugal recorded the highest rate (more than tripe the EU average) with 24%, followed by Spain (17%) and Estonia (16%).

Four other countries, on the other hand, registered values lower than the monthly averages for 2016-2019: Hungary (-0.3%), Italy (-1%), Slovakia (-2%), and Bulgaria (-8%).

In Belgium, meanwhile, the average percentage of excess deaths has differed greatly from the EU average at times – such as when Belgium registered an excess mortality of 73.1%, compared to the EU's 25.% in April 2020 – but is now on par with the rest of the bloc at 6.3%.

Previous differences, however, were mainly due to Belgium's different way of counting the number of Covid-related deaths, as authorities also decided to count suspected Covid cases to be as complete as possible. In 2021, the excess mortality was "significantly lower" than in 2020, but was still marked by three coronavirus waves, a short period of heat and the July floods.

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