Coronavirus and heat wave led to nearly 18,000 more deaths in 2020
Friday, 15 January 2021
The two waves of the coronavirus outbreak and the August heat wave caused 17,966 more deaths than normal, according to a Sciensano estimate published on Friday.
A total of 126,000 deaths have occurred in 2020, or 16.6% more than the expected 108,000. From 2015 to 2019, the excess mortality due to heat waves and flu reached an average percentage of only 2% per year.
In 2020, the number of deaths associated with Covid-19 rose to 19,620, while the heat wave caused 1,503 additional deaths between 5 and 20 August.
According to Sciensano, the excess mortality was higher during the first wave of the epidemic than during the second.
The excess mortality was “very rapid, high and concentrated over six weeks” during the first wave, “while during the second period it was more moderate and spread over 10 weeks,” the institute said.
On average 1,310 additional people died per week during the first period, compared with 806 during the second period. There were an average of 188 deaths per day as a result of Covid-19 during the first wave, 127 during the second.