Mortality rising

© Hollandse Hoogte
Over the past few weeks, mortality in the Netherlands has been higher than the average figures recorded in previous years. There were 3,575 deaths in week 12 (ending 22 March). This is 443 more than the average weekly figure in the first ten weeks of this year. For week 13 (ending 29 March), the number of deaths is estimated at around 4,300. The estimate has been based on the number of death certificates received by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) for week 13. These figures have been reported by CBS and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) on the basis of national provisional counts of the number of deaths per week.

Over the period week 1 to 10 inclusive (ending 8 March 2020), the average number of deaths per week stood at 3,132. This is slightly less than in 2019, when 3,170 deaths were recorded over the same period.

Number of deaths per week
week201720182019*2020*
13568334330643099
23637335932613364
33487336431533151
43626332231793040
53574340331443157
63446351331853187
73417366032533195
83328369132232952
93152393730663084
103054409231723086
112843373332283201
122778343030433575
132850322530144308
14276430402900
15281028602901
16271327603040
17277826632959
18276926452808
19280226412773
20280126062821
21277226742873
22270127762732
23262426792736
24264325572649
25262726012694
26269126192836
27269727262726
28252026712762
29267427042585
30257127673007
31251027602732
32265727452629
33254026052612
34254526122616
35257625272785
36257026132556
37270725392642
38271527062582
39266926962753
40264128062717
41276327602912
42270627392879
43267626712869
44272628152856
45279727983016
46291627613062
47291728593025
48288629073041
49302729683016
50321830173163
51307930413247
52318729013019
2020: latest weekly figure is an estimate.

The rising mortality coincides with the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis in the Netherlands. The first confirmed COVID-19 patient in the Netherlands was reported on 27 February 2020. The first death involving COVID-19 was reported on 6 March 2020. The COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March 2020.
In week 11 (ending 15 March), 34 deaths involving COVID-19 were reported to RIVM. In week 12 (ending 22 March), 280 deaths were reported, while in week 13 (ending 29 March), the death toll stood at 713 (as of Thursday, 2 April 2020). In view of the fact that in the Netherlands, not all deceased persons are tested for the coronavirus, actual counts of corona deaths are expected to be higher. A more complete picture emerges when we look at the total number of deaths per week, based on the data received by CBS and regardless of death cause.

Rising mortality mainly among elderly

In absolute numbers, the deaths in week 12 included mainly more elderly people compared to the first ten weeks of 2020. Mortality mainly increases among the elderly during winter and during outbreaks of flu and/or common colds in particular.
In percentage terms, the number of deaths in week 12 is higher across all age groups over 50 years. Conversely, a decline is seen in the age groups under 50. The increase in week 13 appears to be concentrated in the age group 65 years and over.

Number of deaths per week, 2020
WeekWeek 1 to 10 inclusive*Week 11*Week 12*Week 13 (received data)Week 13 (additional estimate)Week 13 (total)
0 to 64 years39640244138672458
65 to 79 years920943106811402161356
80 years and over18161858206622062882494
* provisional figures

More deaths in Noord-Brabant


The relatively higher mortality over week 12 (as compared to the first ten weeks of 2020) is seen in most provinces of the Netherlands. The sharpest rise can be seen in the province of Noord-Brabant. This province already showed a marked increase in mortality as of week 11 (ending 15 March). After Noord-Brabant, the province of Limburg showed significantly rising mortality over week 12. Other provinces with a substantial rise are Noord-Holland and Gelderland.
The rising mortality trend was continued in Noord-Brabant and Limburg over week 13. Total mortality over week 13 in these two provinces, based on the most recently available information, is approximately 80 percent higher than the weekly average in weeks 1 through 10 of this year. Utrecht province also shows a distinctly higher number of deaths based on the initial estimates. Other provinces with an (additional) increase over weekly 13 include Gelderland and Overijssel.

Number of deaths per week, 2020, by province
ProvincieWeek 13 (received data)Week 13 (additional estimate)Week 13 (total)Week 12*Week 11*Week 1 to 10 inclusive*
Limburg42653479329279250
Noord-Brabant803127930702540481
Zeeland761288938883
Zuid-Holland59097687612613624
Noord-Holland493111604522454472
Utrecht23823261212211211
Gelderland49263555448391394
Flevoland33538485551
Overijssel27219291245229216
Drenthe986104105104107
Friesland11917136139123129
Groningen9243135120116115


Sources