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    EU’s coronavirus deaths peaked in late March

    Credit: Belga

    The EU’s peak in excess mortality occurred at the end of March and the beginning of April, according to Eurostat figures.

    The impact of the pandemic can be determined by the increase in the number of deaths, from different causes, compared to the same periods in recent years.

    In some parts of Europe, the difference was remarkably high, while other countries were less affected. Italy, Spain and France, for example, saw the number of deaths rise sharply.

    In Belgium, but also in countries like Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland, “the rise and fall in mortality can be also observed as a bell shape with peaks on the number of deaths in weeks 14-15,” according to Eurostat. Weeks 14 and 15 were at the end of March and the beginning of April.

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    Across 21 countries that had data available, there were 140,000 more deaths on average in March and April than the average in that period over the past four years (2016-2019), with a rapid increase in coronavirus deaths in certain Member States at the beginning of March.

    There was a difference in the number of deaths between men and women, according to the data. At the beginning of March, the values for men and women were still equal, but the number of deaths among men rose compared to women in the three weeks that followed. After that, numbers equalled again, followed by three weeks in which more women died.

    There was also a clear increase in deaths among people aged over 70 compared to previous years. In this category, the increase was also higher for men (40%) than for women (30%).

    Jason Spinks
    The Brussels Times