"Everyone has the right to clear, accessible, timely and meaningful information about the nature and extent of the threat to their health".

(Esteban Beltrán, Director of Amnesty International's Spanish Section, before the Economic and Social Reconstruction Commission of the Spanish Parliament, European Union Group, 12 June 2020)


15: https://www.destatis.de/DE/Themen/Gesellschaft-Umwelt/Bevoelkerung/Sterbefaelle-Lebenserwartung/Tabellen/sonderauswertung-sterbefaelle.html?nn=209016, accessed and downloaded 05/06/2020.

16: "When looking at the course of the year in the death statistics, the typical fluctuations during the flu season from around mid-December to mid-April should be noted. This becomes clear when looking at the figures from previous years: In March 2019, for example, around 86,400 people died; in March 2018, i.e. in a year when the flu epidemic was particularly severe, the figure was 107,100. Even without a Corona pandemic, the death figures can therefore fluctuate greatly during the typical flu season. These fluctuations particularly affect the number of deaths in the age group 65 and older.
According to the preliminary death figures, the impact of the flu wave in 2020 was very low compared to previous years. In January 2020, about 85.200 people died according to the preliminary count. In February 2020, there were 79.600 deaths. Also in March 2020, with a total of at least 86.800 deaths, no noticeable increase compared to previous years is discernible when viewed on a month-by-month basis. In April, however, with at least 82.600 cases, the number of deaths was clearly above the average of previous years.
Looking at the trend by calendar week, there have been increased death case numbers since the last week of March (23 to 29 March) compared to the 2016 to 2019 average. This upward deviation was greatest in the 15th calendar week (6 to 12 April). From the 16th calendar week (13 to 19 April) onwards, the number of deaths fell again significantly. In the 19th calendar week (4 to 10 May), according to the preliminary count, the number of deaths was no longer above the average of previous years. The findings on temporary excess mortality, when looking at the absolute numbers, are approximately in line with the data on confirmed COVID-19 deaths reported to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).
" (https://www.destatis.de/DE/Themen/Gesellschaft-Umwelt/Bevoelkerung/Sterbefaelle-Lebenserwartung/sterbefallzahlen.html, accessed 05/06/2020; translation and emphasis by R.W.)

17: https://www.destatis.de/DE/Presse/Pressemitteilungen/2020/06/PD20_203_12621.html?nn=209016, accessed 06/05/2020.

Attempt to view in perspective the health hazard posed by the COVID-19 pandemic:

Mortality in spring of 2020 in Spain and Germany compared to the general death rate in both countries


3.1. General mortality pattern

From January 2016 to April 2020, between 69,000 and 107,000 people died in Germany each month, more during the cold season, especially in the flu season, and fewer in the summer, with the exception of extreme heat periods.15

3.2. Deaths in Germany between January and the end of April 2020

As can be seen particularly clearly from the European Mortality Monitoring (EuroMoMo) charts8, mortality was unusually low this flu season, unlike the 2016/17 and 2017/18 flu seasons.

(https://www.euromomo.eu/graphs-and-maps/; diagram for Germany, bulletin week 20/2020, consulted on 15/05/2020. At the time, only Berlin and Hesse participated in EuroMoMo.)

Mortality Germany

The death rate in Germany during the period from January to April 2020 is unchanged and is below what happened in previous strong flu epidemics in which no extraordinary measures were taken.

The Federal Statistical Office (Statistisches Bundesamt) states a slight excess mortality from the last week of March to the second week of April.16

So far (05/06/2020), the statistics are only available up to 10 May 2020. In the 19th calendar week, the number of deaths was no longer above average.17

The nationwide German official statistics are usually published with a time delay of 5 weeks. Corrections - as is constantly the case with the Spanish statistics, which are published at very short notice - and updates are therefore still to be expected.

---> Continue reading: Background mortality


1. Definition of the problem and summary

1.1. Definition of the problem

1.2. Summary

2. Spain

2.1 General mortality pattern

2.2 Deaths in Spain between February and the end of May 2020

Table 1: Monthly deaths (all causes) in Spain at times of influenza and COVID-19

3. Germany

3.1 General mortality pattern

3.2 Deaths in Germany between January and the end of April 2020

Table 2: Monthly deaths (all causes) in Germany at times of influenza and COVID-19

4. The usual "background" mortality patterns in Spain and Germany
compared to deaths with COVID-19

5. Open questions

6. Personal follow-up comments in May 2021

7. Sources

8. Materials

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