The European Mortality Monitoring Project (EuroMOMO) has recently updated their website so it looks nicer.— Inquisitive Bird (@Scientific_Bird) April 26, 2020
Here are the excess deaths of any causes in the worst affected European countries (z-scores, i.e. SDs away from normal death rate).
NEW: a lot of data on reported Covid deaths is highly suspect, so we’ve been looking into excess mortality — how many more people than usual have been dying around the world in recent weeks?— John Burn-Murdoch (@jburnmurdoch) April 26, 2020
Story by me, @ChrisGiles_ & @valentinaromei (free to read): https://t.co/EiE5Q3OSmR pic.twitter.com/AiTdBnBma9
The numbers are remarkable, and put to bed the idea that Covid-19 is akin to a bad flu season.— John Burn-Murdoch (@jburnmurdoch) April 26, 2020
You can clearly see that in almost every country, spikes in mortality are *far* higher than what we see from flu etc (grey lines are historical death numbers) https://t.co/EiE5Q3OSmR pic.twitter.com/h4WIDqkBTD
The picture is even more stark in the cities & regions hardest hit by outbreaks.— John Burn-Murdoch (@jburnmurdoch) April 26, 2020
In Ecuador’s Guayas province, 245 Covid deaths have been reported to date, but all-cause mortality data show *more than 10,000* extra deaths since 1 March compared to the average in recent years. pic.twitter.com/d5eh1pf4pH
So far we’ve analysed data from 14 countries, finding 122,000 more deaths in recent weeks than the usual average for those same places and same weeks.— John Burn-Murdoch (@jburnmurdoch) April 26, 2020
This is an increase of 52%. Crucially, that’s also 45,000 more deaths than accounted for in reported Covid deaths. pic.twitter.com/vBNYhCU0qg
Ecuador is emblematic. For several weeks it’s been clear that the reported numbers vastly understate the true death toll, with coffins piling up in the streets.— John Burn-Murdoch (@jburnmurdoch) April 26, 2020
Excess all-cause mortality is the best way to get around this data quality issue and reveal what’s really happening.
But it’s far from just Ecuador. In several other countries overall excess mortality is much higher than reported Covid deaths.— John Burn-Murdoch (@jburnmurdoch) April 26, 2020
This includes England & Wales (47% more excess deaths than reported Covid deaths), Sweden (40%), Spain (33%), and many others. pic.twitter.com/5Wuni4I1yv
The data also highlight another point I’ve been making:— John Burn-Murdoch (@jburnmurdoch) April 26, 2020
Covid outbreaks are much better understood as happening on a local than national scale.
Here are excess deaths across England & Wales.
London deaths have almost doubled vs usual. In the South West, uptick is much smaller. pic.twitter.com/VE3ERKWNgJ
Also suggests excess mort is good proxy for true Covid death toll.— John Burn-Murdoch (@jburnmurdoch) April 26, 2020
If excess deaths were just capturing heart attacks at home, deaths directly related to lockdown etc, we’d expect excess mort to rise similarly everywhere.
But we see far bigger spikes where outbreaks are worst. pic.twitter.com/42klqXxScu
The explanation for this is … well, there is no other explanation.
“The death toll from coronavirus may be almost 60 per cent higher than reported in official counts, according to an FT analysis of overall fatalities during the pandemic in 14 countries.
Mortality statistics show 122,000 deaths in excess of normal levels across these locations, considerably higher than the 77,000 official Covid-19 deaths reported for the same places and time periods.
If the same level of underreporting observed in these countries was happening worldwide, the global Covid-19 death toll would rise from the current official total of 201,000 to as high as 318,000. …
In all the countries analysed except Denmark, excess deaths far outnumbered the official coronavirus death tolls.”
Deaths are being underreported.
If the coronavirus was “just the flu” and had a similar death rate, there would be no dramatic spike in mortality because it would kill similar numbers of people. It hasn’t.