Fewer people died than expected in second week of January

Photo: DutchNews.nl
Photo: DutchNews.nl

Fewer people than expected died last week – the first time in six months this has happened, according to national statistics agency CBS.

Some 3,250 people died in the second week of the year, around 100 fewer than statisticians had previewed. The drop is probably due to the lockdown, the booster campaign and the fact that the Omicron variant of coronavirus seems to be less lethal, the CBS said.

However, further research is needed to establish exactly why fewer people died than normal, the agency said.

Over the past few months, some 10,000 more people died than expected and the CBS and public health institute RIVM are now working on wide-ranging research into the excess mortality rate.

Experts say the research is needed to establish the clinical causes of the excess deaths, the effect of the measures to combat coronavirus, whether or not some groups in society are disproportionately affected, and how well the Netherlands ‘scores’ compared to other countries.

The ‘excess deaths’ figure is considered an indicator of the spread of coronavirus, and reached a peak during the first wave of the pandemic, when in the 14th week of 2020, there were some 2,000 more deaths than would be expected.

The government’s coronavirus dashboard only includes people who have had an official test registered with the RIVM and currently stands at 21,164.

The CBS collates death certificates, where GPs register the cause of death, and this data is considered by the government to be ‘the most accurate’ coronavirus mortality rate.

The statistics office has now studied causes of death up to the end of August and concluded that by then at least 32,054 people had died of coronavirus in the Netherlands since the start of the pandemic. At that point, the official figure stood at 18,047.

Currently, the official total number of ‘Covid 19 patients reported dead’ is 21,188.

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