From 40,000 deaths in March-April 2019 to 68,000 this year: possibly there are far more deaths from COVID-19 than recorded

In Spain more than 23,500 people have died from COVID-19 at the time of this writing. However, the lack of tests and the collapse of civil registries show that the real number is higher, although there was no way to quantify it ... until now, at least partially.

The Daily Mortality Monitoring System (MoMo) has published the total death figures in Spain in which we can see the increase in deaths since the health crisis began, and the difference with the estimated number of deaths predicted by the MoMo with data from the last eleven years.

The two castles, Madrid and Navarra have the greatest excesses of mortality not attributed to the coronavirus

In Spain, between March 17 and April 21, 68,056 people died, although 39,981 were expected. This difference of 28,075 deaths is partly explained by the victims of the coronavirus, which then numbered 21,282.

The rest of deaths, 6,793, are outside the official record of the pandemic, although the sum of the figures for each autonomous community reaches 8,207 deaths, something that may have its origin in the fact that the number reported by each to this entity has a delay of a few days. In addition, some civil registries are not computerized (from which the MoMo extracts the data), something that also counts down certain deaths. The dance of figures comes from the beginning of this crisis.

Graph: Daily Mortality Monitoring System (MoMo).

Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, Madrid and Navarra are, apart from the particular case of Ceuta, the communities where the greatest percentage excess has been recorded between the number of expected deaths and the total, subtracting those attributed to COVID-19. That is, it is in these regions where the highest death rate is found that are not related to the coronavirus in the count, but probably were in fact.

On the opposite side, Catalonia, the Canary Islands, Murcia and Andalusia are those that have this percentage at a lower level. Or what is the same: their excess mortality matches better with the death toll from COVID-19, although there are also more victims. La Rioja is a peculiar case: despite being one of the first centers to develop in our country, it offers negative rates. As if there were more deaths from COVID-19 than the excess it shows. Something that, as he explains The country, It has its origin in that MoMo only collected 79% of deaths there compared to those recorded by the INE last year.

The prevalence of excess mortality is very similar by gender, but tremendously uneven by age group. Those over 65 years, especially when they exceed 74, are the ones who contribute the most to this macabre statistical death. Something that connects with the known increased lethality of the virus in the elderly.

To obtain these figures we have used the expected death figures according to the MoMo in the date ranges that it has applied to each autonomy, and those of total deaths accounted for. Then we have observed the difference between this excess, and we have subtracted those of those who died from COVID-19 on the date used by each autonomous community. That final figure is what we have used as "excess mortality not attributed to the coronavirus."

There are reasonable hypotheses about this increase in the number of deaths. For example, the forecast of deaths without COVID-19 should be lower a priori, since it is expected that during confinement the number of deaths due to occupational or traffic accidents will be much lower. However, the saturation of the health system and ICU beds may also have caused deaths unrelated to the coronavirus but that could not be prevented due to it, as well as visits to the hospital that were delayed too long for fear of being exposed to a contagion.

We will have to wait for the INE to publish the detailed data to be able to quantify in more detail the number of deaths over time and the differences from the historical average, as well as to know in detail the number of deaths from other specific causes.What we do know is that there are, on April 27, 23,521 deaths from COVID-19, to which around 7,000 more could be added. And up.

Featured Image | Antonio Calanni / AP.

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