BRUSSELS, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- A total of 168,000 additional deaths were recorded in the European Union (EU) from March 2 to June 28 this year, when the COVID-19 pandemic was rampant in the continent, according to a Eurostat report released on Monday.
Data from the European statistical body showed that the mortality in the first six weeks of 2020 was below the average of 2016-2019, but started to rise in weeks nine and 10, and went above average from week 11 onwards, peaking in week 14 (March 30 to April 5) with 36,000 additional deaths.
Additional deaths then crumbled soon, going below the average of the four previous years in week 21 (May 18 - May 24) and staying around average until the end of June. There were 2,200 fewer deaths than the average in week 25.
The highest number of additional deaths during weeks 10-26 (March 2 to June 28) was recorded in Spain, at 48,000; followed by Italy, at 46,000; and France, at 30,000. At the regional level, the biggest increase in the number of deaths was observed in Bergamo, northern Italy with a peak of 895 percent increase in week 12, followed by Segovia in Spain of 634 percent increase in week 13.
In the 26 member states with available data, about 96 percent or 161,000 of all extra deaths recorded from March to June were people aged 70 and over. In comparison, this age group represented only 76 percent of all deaths during the same periods in 2016-2019.
Excess mortality is a count of all deaths independent of their causes. However, the trend in excess mortality registered by Eurostat coincides with that of COVID-19 related deaths.
According to the World Health Organization, 132,882 COVID-19 deaths were recorded in all the 27 EU member states as of June 30, and 156,954 were registered as of Oct. 19.
While the international comparability of data associated with COVID-19 may still be arguable due to possible different rules of disease/causes of death classification and coverage issues, the data of increased deaths may be used to get an indirect measure of the impact of the pandemic, according to Eurostat.