Excess mortality since the beginning of the pandemic can reach 4,000 deaths

in News · 28-04-2020 17:34:00 · 5 Comments

The excess of mortality in Portugal since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic can reach 4,000 deaths, according to a study to be published in the scientific magazine of the Portuguese Medical Association to which Lusa had access.

According to the study, which analyzed the period between 1 March and 22 April, the number of deaths registered in Portugal can reach a value that represents almost five times more than those attributed to covid-19, which on 27 April set at 928, according to official figures.

The authors of the study, specialists from the Institute of Preventive Medicine and Public Health and the Institute of Health Based on Evidence, from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon, recall that the excess mortality in March and April “cannot be compared with February , not even with the same years, but it should first refer to the holiday months”, in which there is a reduction in activity and circulation of people and, therefore, a decrease in mortality due to road accidents.

“The state of emergency that Portugal has been in has led to several restrictive measures with an impact, for example, in reducing mortality from road or work accidents and also in a drop in the number of other infections characteristic of this time of year or heights less social isolation, which should be discounted from the results analyzed”, considers António Vaz Carneiro, one of the authors.

For Vaz Carneiro, "the number of deaths most identified is even greater than previously thought, by not considering this fall in deaths on the road or at work".

The data now released are higher than those estimated last week on the Covid-19 Barometer, from the National School of Public Health, which showed an excess mortality of 1,255 deaths, but only for the period between 16 March and 14 April.

Faced with this data from the ENSP last week, the Director-General of Health, Graça Freitas, said that considering the period from the beginning of the year until 21 April, the excess mortality was due to 439 deaths in relation to the average of the same period in previous five years.

For the work now published in Ata Médica, the scientific journal of the Ordem dos Médicos, the authors used public databases to estimate the excess mortality by age and region, between 1 March and 22 April, proposing levels adjusted to the current state of emergency period. The conclusions point to an excess of mortality between 2,400 and 4,000 deaths.

As in the ENSP study, this study indicates that excess mortality is mainly associated with older age groups (age over 65 years). The absolute numbers indicate more deaths in the districts of Aveiro, Porto and Lisbon, which is in line with the areas with the most patients diagnosed with covid-19 and also with the highest population density.

"If the analysis of the numbers is done in relative terms, there are no significant regional differences, although there is a tendency for a greater excess of mortality in the older districts", they stress.

The study also advances some worrying figures that may justify these deaths in excess: between 1 March and 22 April, there were 191,666 fewer patients with red bracelets in hospitals, 30,159 less with orange bracelets and 160,736 less with yellow bracelets.

With reference to mortality in the 24 to 48 hours after admission to hospitals before the pandemic, “these breaks correspond to a potential of at least 1,291 deaths, 79 in patients screened with a red bracelet, 1,206 with an orange bracelet and 6 with a yellow bracelet”, is indicated.

In a comment to this study, the president of the Ordem dos Médicos reminds us of the urgency of creating “a ‘task-force’ that works in an articulated way and that quickly looks at this data to be able to redesign the response” to patients.

Regarding the causes, the data suggest a tripartite explanation for the excess of mortality: deaths by covid-19 identified by the authorities, deaths by covid-19 but not identified and reduced access to health care.

In this study, the number of excess non-covid deaths was four to five higher than the deaths attributed to the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

“For any immediate future plan of the National Health Service, we must move from risk management of covid infection, to global risk management (covid and non-covid) to avoid this dramatic excess of mortality”, considers António Vaz Carneiro.


Yes Al you get part of the picture furthermore there is some countries in Europe and Portugal is one of them that test post-mortem all deaths not related with Covid-19, so here the figures are quite reliable since beginning as it is in those European countries doing that, you can check this.
The best comparision is death toll per million habitants betwwen countries, but those european countries that don´t do post-mortem tests is better to put the 20% increase, not the case of Portugal.
The main thing for this is that both Governments in UK and Portugal were ok with initial models to a smooth approach on lockdown, but in Portugal portuguese President had an essential role to decrease death toll he imposed a strict and severe lockdown from the beginning with State of Emergency, yeah that was the main thing for lower the death tool.

By Jeremy from Lisbon on 29-04-2020 10:23

Statistics Portugal issued a report on April 8th examining potential excess death caused by C-19. In March;
10,224 died in 2020,
9,991 died in 2019
10,501 died in 2018
These data confirmed that the total death burden for Portugal in March 2020 were no different to the mean deaths in March 2018 and 2019. This is when
C-19 accounted for 187 deaths up to end March. These data strongly support the view that when extended into late April the total excess burden of deaths would only be 439 (not 435 Jeremy). So based on this previous report, the figure quoted by Graça Freitas is correct and not fake news and the ENSP publication conclusions boarder on the fantasy!

By Al from Lisbon on 29-04-2020 11:09

More guessing, more models, more fear mongering, just to control the population. Not to control the virus, because they can't.

By Fred Doe from Algarve on 29-04-2020 09:01

That's fake news.
Officials in a press conference on the 28 said that last five years average is below 2020 deaths in 435. Officials said that's this news is fake and are investigating is origin.
so died less around 500 from other causes to match total of covid-19 of 900.
The study is previous to April and was a estimation of deaths between 2.400 and 4.000 for total covid-19 in Portugal, that model proved to be wrong due to contention measures.
up-to-date models show that the pandemic in Portugal should end until end of May and predicts betwwen 1.100 and 1.500 deaths for total covid-19.
based on this model government will open all economy by phases until June the first, starting on May the 4, Portugal PM will announce later on Thursday the reopening plan by phases during May.
Please check your sources carefully.

By Jeremy from Lisbon on 29-04-2020 12:04

Let's look at the numbers using National Statistics Portugal data. Portugal excess mortality of 439 deaths (all causes) in the 6 week period represents about 8 more deaths a day than the approximate 350 that die daily in this spring period. For the same period 820 C-19 deaths were recorded (15.5 deaths a day). The difference between the two (7.5 deaths a day) actually suggests that C-19 deaths are over-reported but this difference I suspect partially, represents a reduction in traffic accidents due to lockdown (less than 2 deaths a day) and fewer deaths from influenza or cancer as more of these are attributable to C-19. These data certainly do not suggest an underreporting of C-19 deaths let alone a 4-5 fold increase claimed by the ENSP researchers. Until ENSP analyse in detail the reasons for all deaths in this period against previous years their data analysis and conclusions are, in my opinion, highly questionable.
I do agree that C-19 related deaths are probably under reported around the world (possibly by a maximum of x 1.2 (20%) in Portugal, certainly not x4-5 claimed). The bottom line is that the Portuguese people have supported the early excellent advise given to them which, with the fantastic support of the healthcare service, has resulted in C-19 causing an only MARGINAL excess mortality (equivalent to a bad epidemic of influenza). With a decreasing burden, high testing rates and excellent tracing teams, Portugal is now in an excellent position to unlock in a safe stepwise manner. Let's be positive and safe.

By Al from Lisbon on 28-04-2020 07:45
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