How many deaths are registered per week?

Recent mortality figures can be found in the series Mortality per week.

On a weekly basis, mortality in the Netherlands stands at 2,900 on average, but it tends to be higher in winter than in summer. Elevated winter mortality often coincides with outbreaks of influenza and/or the common cold. For example, the beginning of 2018 was marked by an unusually long period of especially influenza. This resulted in exceptionally high mortality, with almost 4,100 deaths in week 10 (5 to 11 March inclusive).

Among the elderly, mortality is relatively highest in winter. In the first 15 weeks of 2019, the number of deaths among over-80s was on average 10 percent higher than in an average week that year. Among people under 80, this was 3 percent. On the other hand, mortality among the elderly is below average during the rest of the year, except during summertime heatwaves.

How was the situation in 2020?

In 2020, weekly mortality up until mid-March was slightly lower than in the same period in 2019. The first weeks of 2020 were not marked by a significant rise in influenza cases, and temperatures were not particularly low.

Mortality showed an increase as of week 12 (16 to 22 March inclusive); in week 14 (30 March to 5 April), a peak of nearly 5,100 deaths was reached. The rise coincided with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. After the peak in week 14, the number of deaths declined. After week 20 (11 to 17 May inclusive), mortality remained slightly below the expected level for this period. It rose again during the heat wave in week 33 (10 to 16 August inclusive). In week 34 (17 to 23 August inclusive), too, slightly more people died due to the heat. After that, mortality fell again. However, it rose again starting in week 39 (21 to 27 September inclusive). Mortality remained higher than expected for this time of year until the end of 2020, coinciding with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the Netherlands.

In the whole of 2020, there were nearly 169 thousand deaths. This is on average over 3,200 deaths per week and 10 percent more deaths than under normal circumstances.

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The first positive tested patient in the Netherlands was reported on 27 February 2020. On 6 March, the first death due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 was reported. The COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March 2020.

What was the situation in 2021?

During the first few weeks of 2021, the number of deaths was again higher than expected, coinciding with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the Netherlands. Mortality did decline on a weekly basis. There was temporary undermortality between week 7 (15 to 21 February inclusive) and week 13 (29 March to 4 April inclusive). Mortality was slightly higher relative to previous years starting in week 31 (2 to 8 August inclusive) onwards, rising once more after week 41 (11 to 17 October inclusive). The higher mortality rate coincided with a new COVID-19 pandemic wave in the Netherlands. Recent figures and news releases can be found in the mortality per week series.

What are the projections?

The mortality figures are based on municipal death records received by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on a daily basis. In general, some time elapses between the actual date of death and the moment when this information reaches CBS. Death records are collected every week (Thursdays). Usually, by Thursday the collected records include slightly over 80 percent of all deaths in the previous week The information thus provides an indication of the total expected number of deaths for that week.

CBS does not yet have information on the causes of death once it receives the death records. This is received through cause-of-death certificates, which are completed by the attending medical practitioner. It usually takes several months to process the certificates.