Death rate from coronavirus slightly higher than that of major flu epidemic

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In the short term, the coronavirus will probably cause just slightly more Dutch deaths than during the major influenza epidemic from November 2017 to April 2018. Researchers at the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI). However, the impact of the virus in the longer term will “all in all be significantly greater” than that of an “ordinary” flu wave, the researchers said.

NIDI suspects that the number of deaths from corona will rise to approximately 9,760, provided that the number of deaths continues to decline, as it does now. This will only be the case if society succeeds in limiting the number of infections. Due to the uncertainties in this period, the researchers also do not rule out a second mortality peak.

Shortening life expectancy

NIDI has also investigated the effect of the coronavirus on life expectancy. Based on the total estimated corona deaths, the decrease in the average life expectancy for men is 200 days, to just under 80 years. For women this is almost 160 days, they are now just over 83 years old on average. NIDI still calls this effect on life expectancy “minimal”.

The researchers do not base their calculations on the mortality figures that RIVM reports. Instead, they look at the so-called excess mortality that Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports every week. That figure gives a better picture, since not all people are tested for the corona virus. These figures show that this year, up to and including April 18, about 7,500 more people died than would normally be the case.

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By: Marinka Wagemans



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