On assessing excess mortality in Germany during the COVID-19 pandemic

by   Giacomo De Nicola, et al.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is associated with a very high number of casualties in the general population. Assessing the exact magnitude of this number is a non-trivial problem, as relying only on officially reported COVID-19 associated fatalities runs the risk of incurring in several kinds of biases. One of the ways to approach the issue is to compare overall mortality during the pandemic with expected mortality computed using the observed mortality figures of previous years. In this paper, we build on existing methodology and propose two ways to compute expected as well as excess mortality, namely at the weekly and at the yearly level. Particular focus is put on the role of age, which plays a central part in both COVID-19-associated and overall mortality. We illustrate our methods by making use of age-stratified mortality data from the years 2016 to 2020 in Germany to compute age group-specific excess mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.


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