Title: Magnitude, demographics and dynamics of the effect of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic on all-cause mortality in 21 industrialized countries
Author: Vasilis Kontis, James E. Bennett, Theo Rashid, Robbie M. Parks, Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, Michel Guillot, Perviz Asaria, Bin Zhou, Marco Battaglini, Gianni Corsetti, Martin McKee, Mariachiara Di Cesare, Colin D. Mathers, Majid Ezzati
Abstract: The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has changed many social, economic, environmental and healthcare determinants of health. We applied an ensemble of 16 Bayesian models to vital statistics data to estimate the all-cause mortality effect of the pandemic for 21 industrialized countries. From mid-February through May 2020, 206,000 (95% credible interval, 178,100–231,000) more people died in these countries than would have had the pandemic not occurred. The number of excess deaths, excess deaths per 100,000 people and relative increase in deaths were similar between men and women in most countries. England and Wales and Spain experienced the largest effect: ~100 excess deaths per 100,000 people, equivalent to a 37% (30–44%) relative increase in England and Wales and 38% (31–45%) in Spain. Bulgaria, New Zealand, Slovakia, Australia, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Norway, Denmark and Finland experienced mortality changes that ranged from possible small declines to increases of 5% or less in either sex. The heterogeneous mortality effects of the COVID-19 pandemic reflect differences in how well countries have managed the pandemic and the resilience and preparedness of the health and social care system.