Saturday 24 October 2020

New figures show hidden impact of coronavirus on Dutch death toll

The hidden impact of coronavirus on registered deaths in the Netherlands is becoming clearer, with the publication of new figures from the national statistics office CBS.

The figures show that since the end of March some 2,000 more people are dying than would have been expected for the time of year, the CBS said. The current official death toll from coronavirus in the Netherlands is 2,511, a figure that only includes people who have been tested for the disease.

The CBS analysis shows that 5,100 people died in the week ending April 5, but in the first 10 weeks of the year, some 3,100 people were dying on a weekly basis. That could indicate around 2,000 people died of coronavirus.

In the last complete week of March, some 4,425 people died, the CBS said, leaving a further 1,300 deaths which could be coronavirus-related.

‘The rising mortality rate coincides with the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis in the Netherlands,’ the CBS said. ‘A more complete picture emerges by looking at the total weekly number of deaths as based on the data received by CBS, regardless of the cause of death.’

Based on information received so far, the elderly are being hardest hit. The number of deaths among the elderly in the last week of March were up 44% on previous weeks, but there is little change in the death rate among the under-50s.

Coronavirus is emerging as a major problem in nursing homes. Earlier this week RIVM infectious diseases chief Jaap van Dissel told MPs coronavirus cases have been identified in at least 900 of the Netherlands’ 2,500 nursing homes.

New figures

New figures issued by the RIVM on Friday show that 23,097 people have now tested positive for coronavirus, and 8,197 people have been or are being treated in hospital. That is a rise of 225 on Thursday.

There are also wide variations in the infection rate, the RIVM said. For example, 56% of Groningen cases involve healthcare workers, but only 11% of those in Noord-Brabant where the epidemic took hold in the Netherlands.

On average, 25% of confirmed infections involve healthcare workers.

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