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1.
SSM - Population Health ; : 101118, 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-1821485

ABSTRACT

Excess mortality has been used to measure the impact of COVID-19 over time and across countries. But what baseline should be chosen? We propose two novel approaches: an alternative retrospective baseline derived from the lowest weekly death rates achieved in previous years and a within-year baseline based on the average of the 13 lowest weekly death rates within the same year. These baselines express normative levels of the lowest feasible target death rates. The excess death rates calculated from these baselines are not distorted by past mortality peaks and do not treat non-pandemic winter mortality excesses as inevitable. We obtained weekly series for 35 industrialized countries from the Human Mortality Database in 2000–2020. Observed, baseline and excess mortalities were measured by age-standardized death rates. We assessed weekly and annual excess death rates driven by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and those related to seasonal (predominantly) respiratory infections in earlier years. There was a distinct geographic pattern with high excess death rates in Eastern Europe followed by parts of the UK, and countries of Southern and Western Europe. Some Asia-Pacific and Scandinavian countries experienced lower excess mortality. In 2020 and earlier years, the alternative retrospective and the within-year excess mortality figures were higher than estimates based on conventional metrics. While the latter were typically negative or close to zero in “normal” years without extraordinary epidemics, the alternative estimates were substantial. Cumulation of this usual excess over 2–3 years results in human losses comparable to those caused by COVID-19. Challenging the view that non-pandemic seasonal winter mortality is inevitable would focus attention on reducing premature mortality in many countries. As SARS-CoV-2 is unlikely to be the last respiratory pathogen with the potential to cause a pandemic, such measures would also strengthen global resilience in the face of similar threats in the future.

2.
Population & Development Review ; : 1, 2022.
Article in English | Academic Search Complete | ID: covidwho-1723362

ABSTRACT

Estimating excess mortality is challenging. The metric depends on the expected mortality level, which can differ based on given choices, such as the method and the time series length used to estimate the baseline. However, these choices are often arbitrary, and are not subject to any sensitivity analysis. We bring to light the importance of carefully choosing the inputs and methods used to estimate excess mortality. Drawing on data from 26 countries, we investigate how sensitive excess mortality is to the choice of the mortality index, the number of years included in the reference period, the method, and the time unit of the death series. We employ two mortality indices, three reference periods, two data time units, and four methods for estimating the baseline. We show that excess mortality estimates can vary substantially when these factors are changed, and that the largest variations stem from the choice of the mortality index and the method. We also find that the magnitude of the variation in excess mortality is country‐specific, resulting in cross‐country rankings changes. Finally, based on our findings, we provide guidelines for estimating excess mortality. [ FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Population & Development Review is the property of Wiley-Blackwell and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full . (Copyright applies to all s.)

3.
SSM Popul Health ; 17: 101006, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1586469

ABSTRACT

Background: Russia has been portrayed in media as having one of the highest death tolls due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the world. However, the precise scale of excess mortality is still unclear. We provide the first estimates of excess mortality in Russia as a whole and its regions in 2020, placing this in an international context. Methods: We used monthly death rates for Russia and 83 regions plus the equivalent for 36 comparator countries. Expected mortality was derived in two ways using averages in the same months in preceding years and the same averages adjusted for secular trends. Excess death rates were estimated for the whole year and the last 3 quarters. We also estimated the relationships between excess mortality and reported COVID-19 cases and deaths across countries and Russian regions. Results: Estimating excess deaths rates based on the trend-adjusted average, Russia had the highest excess mortality of any of the 37 countries considered. Using the simple average, Russia had the third highest. Most of the excess deaths were recorded in the 4th quarter of 2020 and the level and trajectory of excess mortality in Russia and most of Eastern European countries differed from that in Western countries. While both the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases and deaths showed positive correlations with excess mortality across countries (r=0.65 and r=0.75, p<0.001), the association across the Russian regions was, surprisingly, negative for cases (r=-0.34, p<0.01) and deaths (r=-0.09, p=0.42). When we replaced reported deaths with final data from death certificates the correlation was positive (r=0.38, p<0.001). Conclusion: Russia has one of the largest absolute burden of excess mortality in 2020 but there is a counter-intuitive negative association between excess mortality and cumulative incidence at the regional level. Under-recording of COVID-19 cases seems to be a problem in some regions.

4.
BMJ ; 373: n1137, 2021 05 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1273156

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the direct and indirect effects of the covid-19 pandemic on mortality in 2020 in 29 high income countries with reliable and complete age and sex disaggregated mortality data. DESIGN: Time series study of high income countries. SETTING: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, England and Wales, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United States. PARTICIPANTS: Mortality data from the Short-term Mortality Fluctuations data series of the Human Mortality Database for 2016-20, harmonised and disaggregated by age and sex. INTERVENTIONS: Covid-19 pandemic and associated policy measures. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Weekly excess deaths (observed deaths versus expected deaths predicted by model) in 2020, by sex and age (0-14, 15-64, 65-74, 75-84, and ≥85 years), estimated using an over-dispersed Poisson regression model that accounts for temporal trends and seasonal variability in mortality. RESULTS: An estimated 979 000 (95% confidence interval 954 000 to 1 001 000) excess deaths occurred in 2020 in the 29 high income countries analysed. All countries had excess deaths in 2020, except New Zealand, Norway, and Denmark. The five countries with the highest absolute number of excess deaths were the US (458 000, 454 000 to 461 000), Italy (89 100, 87 500 to 90 700), England and Wales (85 400, 83 900 to 86 800), Spain (84 100, 82 800 to 85 300), and Poland (60 100, 58 800 to 61 300). New Zealand had lower overall mortality than expected (-2500, -2900 to -2100). In many countries, the estimated number of excess deaths substantially exceeded the number of reported deaths from covid-19. The highest excess death rates (per 100 000) in men were in Lithuania (285, 259 to 311), Poland (191, 184 to 197), Spain (179, 174 to 184), Hungary (174, 161 to 188), and Italy (168, 163 to 173); the highest rates in women were in Lithuania (210, 185 to 234), Spain (180, 175 to 185), Hungary (169, 156 to 182), Slovenia (158, 132 to 184), and Belgium (151, 141 to 162). Little evidence was found of subsequent compensatory reductions following excess mortality. CONCLUSION: Approximately one million excess deaths occurred in 2020 in these 29 high income countries. Age standardised excess death rates were higher in men than women in almost all countries. Excess deaths substantially exceeded reported deaths from covid-19 in many countries, indicating that determining the full impact of the pandemic on mortality requires assessment of excess deaths. Many countries had lower deaths than expected in children <15 years. Sex inequality in mortality widened further in most countries in 2020.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Developed Countries/statistics & numerical data , Mortality , Adolescent , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Child , Child, Preschool , Europe/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Middle Aged , Models, Statistical , Poisson Distribution , Republic of Korea/epidemiology , Sex Factors , United States/epidemiology , Young Adult
5.
BMJ ; 373: n1137, 2021 05 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1236432

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the direct and indirect effects of the covid-19 pandemic on mortality in 2020 in 29 high income countries with reliable and complete age and sex disaggregated mortality data. DESIGN: Time series study of high income countries. SETTING: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, England and Wales, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United States. PARTICIPANTS: Mortality data from the Short-term Mortality Fluctuations data series of the Human Mortality Database for 2016-20, harmonised and disaggregated by age and sex. INTERVENTIONS: Covid-19 pandemic and associated policy measures. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Weekly excess deaths (observed deaths versus expected deaths predicted by model) in 2020, by sex and age (0-14, 15-64, 65-74, 75-84, and ≥85 years), estimated using an over-dispersed Poisson regression model that accounts for temporal trends and seasonal variability in mortality. RESULTS: An estimated 979 000 (95% confidence interval 954 000 to 1 001 000) excess deaths occurred in 2020 in the 29 high income countries analysed. All countries had excess deaths in 2020, except New Zealand, Norway, and Denmark. The five countries with the highest absolute number of excess deaths were the US (458 000, 454 000 to 461 000), Italy (89 100, 87 500 to 90 700), England and Wales (85 400, 83 900 to 86 800), Spain (84 100, 82 800 to 85 300), and Poland (60 100, 58 800 to 61 300). New Zealand had lower overall mortality than expected (-2500, -2900 to -2100). In many countries, the estimated number of excess deaths substantially exceeded the number of reported deaths from covid-19. The highest excess death rates (per 100 000) in men were in Lithuania (285, 259 to 311), Poland (191, 184 to 197), Spain (179, 174 to 184), Hungary (174, 161 to 188), and Italy (168, 163 to 173); the highest rates in women were in Lithuania (210, 185 to 234), Spain (180, 175 to 185), Hungary (169, 156 to 182), Slovenia (158, 132 to 184), and Belgium (151, 141 to 162). Little evidence was found of subsequent compensatory reductions following excess mortality. CONCLUSION: Approximately one million excess deaths occurred in 2020 in these 29 high income countries. Age standardised excess death rates were higher in men than women in almost all countries. Excess deaths substantially exceeded reported deaths from covid-19 in many countries, indicating that determining the full impact of the pandemic on mortality requires assessment of excess deaths. Many countries had lower deaths than expected in children <15 years. Sex inequality in mortality widened further in most countries in 2020.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Developed Countries/statistics & numerical data , Mortality , Adolescent , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Child , Child, Preschool , Europe/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Middle Aged , Models, Statistical , Poisson Distribution , Republic of Korea/epidemiology , Sex Factors , United States/epidemiology , Young Adult
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