1.6 thousand COVID-19 deaths in March

© Hollandse Hoogte / Rob Engelaar
In March 2021, altogether 1,611 people died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. According to provisional figures, this brings the number of COVID-19 deaths up to and including March to a total of 28,741. The share of COVID-19 deaths among long-term care users declined to 31 percent in March. This is evident from the latest provisional figures on mortality, published today by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

In March, monthly mortality from COVID-19 reached its lowest level since the end of September, when the second wave of coronavirus began. There were 37 percent fewer COVID-19 deaths than in February.

COVID-19 deaths*
JaarMaandConfirmed COVID-19 deaths Suspected COVID-19 deaths
2020March1715494
2020April48711506
2020May1113213
2020June19472
2020July6725
2020August13335
2020September30135
2020October2045125
2020November314186
2020December388384
2021January435483
2021February249857
2021March158229
* provisional figures

Figures on causes of death are based on the cause-of-death certificates that are completed by an attending medical practitioner. CBS receives these certificates via the municipality where the death occurred. The figures presented in this news release are based on 97 percent of all cause-of-death certificates received in January and February 2021 and on 95 percent of those in March 2021. CBS also publishes mortality statistics on a weekly basis. The numbers are based on death records received by CBS on a daily basis from the municipalities. These records do not contain any information about the cause of death.

Nearly 500 COVID-19 deaths among long-term care users in March

In March 2021, there were 499 COVID-19 deaths among people receiving care under the Long-term Care Act (Wlz). This is over 850 fewer than in February. Fifty-six percent (16,079) of the 28,741 deaths caused by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 and registered since March 2020 were people who had been receiving long-term care, such as in a nursing home. The share of COVID-19 deaths among long-term care users declined to 31 percent in March. This was still 26 percent in week 12 (22 to 28 March inclusive).

With 11 percent of deaths, COVID-19 became a less common cause of death among long-term care recipients in March; in January, it was still 37 percent. This share also declined among the rest of the population, from 18 percent in January to 12 percent in March.

COVID-19 mortality per week*
JaarWeekLong-term care users (% of all deaths per week)Rest of the population (% of all deaths per week)
20201000
20201111
2020121111
2020132828
2020144532
2020155228
2020165020
2020174217
2020183211
202019267
202020176
202021144
202022103
20202372
20202442
20202531
20202621
20202721
20202820
20202910
20203010
20203111
20203221
20203331
20203431
20203521
20203621
20203721
20203851
20203983
202040104
202041146
2020422010
2020432514
2020443317
2020453618
2020463016
2020472716
2020482714
2020492513
2020502813
2020513516
2020524020
2020533921
202113820
202123819
202133817
202143315
202152815
202162913
202172514
202181913
202191513
2021101112
202111912
202112812
* provisional figures

Decline continued into March

During the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of COVID-19 deaths increased steadily, from 139 in week 39 (21 to 29 September 2020 inclusive) to 1,181 in week 53 (28 December 2020 to 3 January 2021 inclusive). In the latter week, 29 percent of all deaths were due to COVID-19. Subsequently, the weekly number of COVID-19 deaths declined, to 322 in the last week of March (11 percent of all deaths that week).

Mortality per week*
JaarWeekOther causes of deathCOVID-19
202013103
202023364
202033157
202043046
202053164
202063196
202073198
202082959
202093098
20201031025
202011318335
2020123202412
20201332081250
20201431651920
20201530061976
20201628391469
20201728151095
2020182716667
2020192554435
2020202495282
2020212553217
2020222583149
2020232576106
202024262366
202025264749
202026262534
202027260632
202028259425
20202925208
202030265518
202031264422
202032261428
202033315752
202034280848
202035270431
202036266527
202037271131
202038265467
2020392752139
2020402807195
2020412753269
2020422788434
2020432805643
2020442833854
2020452695894
2020462801779
2020472670665
2020482756649
2020492916614
2020502920695
2020512971938
20205227511116
20205329221181
2021130021140
2021228281022
202132882978
202142899814
202152923728
202162864684
202172878647
202182709496
202192685419
2021102863380
2021112698339
2021122718322
* provisional figures

Gradual decline in mortality from other causes of death

The provisional figures from November 2020 through January 2021 show that mortality from causes of death other than COVID-19 is stable. Just as in previous years, there was a decline in February and March 2021.

Mortality by cause of death
JaarMaandMalignant neoplasmsCardiovascular diseasesMental disorders and diseases of the nervous systemRespiratory diseasesNon-natural causes of deathCOVID-19
2015January4113405720141727676
2015February3474359717441633629
2015March3877380417671508597
2015April3813335315291076577
2015May371532611470923569
2015June369629181401790571
2015July389429381498839587
2015August382727991464685595
2015September382329011447727572
2015October395632221544902650
2015November376831251506906603
2015December383434041625965627
2016January4064369718511331685
2016February3780341317531350632
2016March4072365718441345712
2016April3854318416151043625
2016May389332461677912619
2016June376829001507740587
2016July384129541594813637
2016August379228181587740600
2016September397228211551677584
2016October405932381616795680
2016November391932031731900644
2016December3962351620231338709
2017January4054407523692129773
2017February3659349119571735660
2017March3945341917681209685
2017April376331201601905617
2017May391332191696966618
2017June382827251542824612
2017July397627151608731671
2017August388527611569698622
2017September385528021579763608
2017October383630411640910611
2017November381631801696942728
2017December4026360520031153766
2018January4101380522341670768
2018February3721360121492059744
2018March4215386924662421757
2018April3760302916651141688
2018May385529751572863695
2018June377827331537785646
2018July383728331771835750
2018August388127461848710644
2018September371026521658715692
2018October399030161660832767
2018November390030901645868712
2018December3909344617851145768
2019January4105351120121335780
2019February3671310918801412716
2019March4091342319401428728
2019April3825315417751129702
2019May391530581771994674
2019June378927891640838683
2019July402130801736779735
2019August395926971748800686
2019September371127281650690682
2019October390632561701960745
2019November3990333718671000717
2019December4007339918311259826
2020*January4131358519321361803
2020*February3819326917401236742
2020*March41233406200613637842209
2020*April3860299418589477676377
2020*May3694282314706687101326
2020*June383527831386623706266
2020*July40242694153966470992
2020*August400928551789805792168
2020*September380727611578639737336
2020*October3992317916227287232170
2020*November3787295915176707143227
2020*December3965327116177918393967
2021*January3928323416418197974437
2021*February3423286514186707042555
2021*March3778288214306927411611
* provisional figures

Data sources for CBS and RIVM

From the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 to 31 March 2021 inclusive, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) reported 16,636 COVID-19 deaths based on data received from the municipal health services (GGD). In the same period, CBS registered 25,897 confirmed COVID-19 deaths based on cause-of-death certificates. In addition, there were 2,844 deaths from suspected COVID-19 as the underlying cause of death. Altogether, this is 28,741 COVID-19 deaths.

There are several explanations for the discrepancies between CBS and RIVM figures. Firstly, there may have been cause of death forms carrying the indication COVID-19 as the cause of death based on the clinical picture, but not confirmed by laboratory testing. These deaths are not included in the RIVM figures. Secondly, deaths which were confirmed cases of COVID-19 (and tested positive in the laboratory) may not have been (directly) reported as such to the GGD (partially because there is no reporting obligation for COVID-19 deaths). This means they are not included in the RIVM figures. Furthermore, reported mortality figures over previous periods are still subject to revision, due to more data on COVID-19 deaths over earlier periods that are received by RIVM at a later stage. CBS will update the figures on causes of death when these data have also been processed.

CBS will switch from monthly to quarterly reports on causes of death. Figures for Q2 will be published in mid-October.