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COVID-19

In charts: How coronavirus mortality rates compared around Europe

A new study has revealed how European countries and major cities compared when it comes to death rates during the coronavirus pandemic.

In charts: How coronavirus mortality rates compared around Europe
A coronavirus patient is treated at a hospital in Madrid. Photo: AFP

The study concluded that that in the first half of 2020 England had “the longest continuous period of excess mortality of any country compared, resulting in England having the highest levels of excess mortality in Europe for the period as a whole”.

It also found that Spain had the highest peak level of excess deaths – meaning that at a particular stage in the crisis the situation in Spain was worse than anywhere else in Europe.

The study was carried out by the Office for National Statistics in the UK because of the “considerable interest in international comparisons of mortality during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.”

The ONS said: “The best way of comparing the mortality impact internationally is by looking at all-cause mortality rates by local area, region and country compared with the five-year average.

“All-cause mortality avoids the problem of different countries recording Covid-19 deaths in different ways, and also takes into account the indirect impact of the pandemic, such as deaths from other causes that might be related to delayed access to healthcare.”

The study also concluded that when local authority areas were compared rather than countries, the highest rates of excess deaths were in central Spain and northern Italy. 

The highest peak was in the city of Bergamo in northern Italy, where excess deaths reached 847.7 percent in the week ending March 20th.

Edward Morgan, Health Analysis and Life Events at the Office for National Statistics said: “Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the first half of 2020 saw extraordinary increases in mortality rates across countries in Western Europe above the 2015 to 2019 average. 

“The highest peak excess mortality at national level was in Spain, with some local areas in Northern Italy and Central Spain having excess mortality levels as high as 847.7 percent of the average. 

“While none of the four UK nations had a peak mortality level as high as Spain or the worst-hit local areas of Spain and Italy, excess mortality was geographically widespread throughout the UK during the pandemic, whereas it was more geographically localised in most countries of Western Europe.”

When it came to comparing cities, Madrid had the highest peak level of excess deaths. 

In Madrid they reached 432.7 percent in the week ending March 27th.

 

The chart below shows overall excess death rates in cities until the end of May. Madrid had the overall largest number of excess deaths. The dotted line represents the 5-year average with the light being over 65s and the dark blue under 65s.
 
 
 
When it comes to regions, this list shows the regions around Europe that had the highest mortality rates at the peaks of their epidemics.
 
 
 
 
 
This Interactive map below shows relative age-standardised mortality rates by week in regions of Europe.
 
 

 

You can view more charts and data in the ONS report HERE.

Member comments

  1. Wondering why you don’t include Ireland too? It is part of the EU and many of us Irish are living in France and would appreciate being included in the statistics.

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HEALTH

Ticks in Denmark: How to protect yourself and what to do if you get bitten

Thousands of people in Denmark are bitten by ticks each year, especially during the summer months. Although most people are left unaffected, an estimated three thousand cases a year in Denmark turn into Lyme disease.

Ticks in Denmark: How to protect yourself and what to do if you get bitten

The humid and warm weather Denmark has experienced so far this year could make ticks even more common than usual this summer, an official said.

Ticks (skovflåter) can be found all over Denmark in forests, meadows, and long grass. They are particularly active during the summer months and increase in number if the weather has been warm and humid. So if you’re hiking, camping or berry-picking this summer, there’s a risk of getting a tick bite (skovflåtbid).

What are ticks?

Ticks are small, spider-like creatures which vary in size, usually between 1mm to 1cm long. They do not fly or jump but climb on to animals or humans as they brush past. Once a tick bites into the skin, it feeds on blood for a few days before dropping off. In Denmark, ticks are often found on rodents or deer and they are particularly prevalent between May and October. 

Lyme Disease (Borreliose

In Denmark, the most common disease ticks transmit is Lyme disease and around 15 per cent of ticks in Denmark’s forests carry this.

It is not known exactly how many people in Denmark get Lyme disease every year, but it is estimated that there are a few thousand cases.

However this is a very small percentage of those who have been bitten by a tick. Broadcaster TV2 has reported that in 98 per cent of cases, people do not get ill from a tick bite.

“If you remove the tick within 24 hours, you most likely won’t get Lyme disease, as it takes longer than this for the bacteria, called borrelia, to transfer to the bloodstream,” Peter Andersen, senior medical officer at the State Serum Institute’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Prevention department, told The Local.

Andersen said that humid and warm weather in Denmark so far this year has caused a high number of ticks.

For those who do develop Lyme disease, the symptoms usually appear between two and six weeks after the bite, but sometimes longer.

Some people can get flu-like symptoms a few days or weeks after being bitten by an infected tick. Children may complain of stomach ache, lose their appetite or lack energy.

But the most obvious sign of Lyme disease is a red circular rash around the bite.

“If you’ve had a tick bite, observe the area to check you don’t get a circular rash, which can indicate you’ve been infected. If this happens, contact a doctor to get treatment. Most infections will be treated with penicillin,” Andersen said, adding that treating Lyme disease is straight forward.

“But the danger is if you don’t acknowledge the rash, then the disease can spread to the nervous system,” Andersen warned.

This is called neuroborreliosis and occurs in around one in ten of of Lyme disease cases.

The symptoms of neuroborreliosis typically appear as headaches and neck or back stiffness and radiating nerve pain or muscle paralysis, typically in the face.

People with neuroborreliosis need to be treated in hospital.

There were 216 cases of neuroborreliosis in Denmark last year, according to the State Serum Institute, the country’s infectious disease control agency. That’s an increase from 197 cases in 2020 and 171 cases in 2019.

Most cases each year are detected between July and September and neuroborreliosis most frequently occurs in children aged 5-10 and adults aged 60-70.

TBE – Tick-borne encephalitis (flåtbåren hjernebetændelse)

This is more rare and is a viral brain infection caused by a particular tick bite. Flu-like symptoms can occur a week or more after the bite and can develop to include nausea, dizziness, and in around a third of cases, severe problems. 

In Denmark, TBE cases tend to only occur on Baltic Sea island Bornholm, where there are around 3 cases a year. There have been two reported cases in North Zealand in 2008 and 2009.

In Denmark, a TBE vaccination is recommended for people who travel regularly in areas with TBE. There isn’t a vaccination for Lyme disease.

What if I get bitten by a tick?

If you do find a tick, you should remove it quickly with a special tick remover (available at all pharmacies), tweezers or your nail. The sooner you can do this, the lower the risk the tick will be able to infect you.

The important thing is making sure you remove the whole tick, by grabbing it as close to the skin as possible and pulling slowly. Then wash and clean the bite, and contact a doctor if you’re worried.

Prevention

If you’ll be spending time in wooded areas with long grass, especially those known to have a high tick presence, you should wear boots along with long sleeved light clothing so you can see the ticks, and tuck trousers into socks. Mosquito repellent has also been proven to help deter ticks.

“Proper clothing is a good prevention but it’s not always realistic to wear long sleeves and trousers when it’s warm. So if you have been outside in nature, you should check yourself in the evening or get a family member to check you for ticks,” Andersen suggested to The Local.

Ticks tend to bite around thin areas of the skin such as kneecaps, groin, armpits and hairline. In children, they can often be found on their scalp and behind the ears.

“Ticks are very small and look like a tiny dot so they can be easily missed. They start to enlarge when they suck blood and then the red rash can appear,” Andersen said. 

Despite their high presence, ticks shouldn’t put you off enjoying Denmark’s nature this summer; keeping vigilant to the tiny black insects should keep any tick-related illness at bay.

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