Excess mortality can only be analysed after epidemic, says Health Minister

Excess mortality can only be analysed after epidemic, says Health Minister
Credit: Belga

The real excess mortality figure linked to the new coronavirus (Covid-19) can only be analysed at the end of the epidemic, or the end of its acute phase, according to Walloon Health Minister Christie Morreale.

Wallonia recorded 1,048 more deaths than expected between 16 March and 5 April, according to national research institute Sciensano’s preliminary figures.

Of these additional deaths, 483 were people aged between 65 and 84 years old, and 502 patients were over 85 years of age. During this period of the year, there are usually between 230 and 250 deaths per week in all nursing homes.

“However, in estimating this excess mortality, the fact that some of the people who died as a result of the virus would probably have died during the year 2020, must also be taken into account,” Morreale pointed out in a special committee of the regional parliament.

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“Therefore, it is possible that in the months following the end of the epidemic, there will be a decrease in the number of deaths in nursing homes,” Morreale added.

The excess mortality measured in Belgium in the first week of April was about 80%, figures by Sciensano indicated, meaning 80% more deaths than expected occurred. In some Flemish, the excess mortality was even as high as 169%.

Additionally, she indicated that the contact tracing system, of which the test phase began on Monday, will be operational as of Thursday “if everything goes smoothly from a technical point of view.”

The Brussels Times

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