The number of excess deaths experienced by each European country in 2020 has been revealed.
The Office of National Statistics revealed on Thursday how many more deaths each European country experienced in 2020 compared to the average for the previous five years.
This is a useful way to examine how many people have died as a result of the pandemic as each country reports and records the impact of Covid-19 in a different way.
By looking at the increase in excess deaths, we can compare how many more deaths each country saw in 2020 compared to previous years.
Excess deaths are an increase on the average number of deaths that are expected to occur in any given year.
Deaths of all age groups are included in the data which helps to account for seasonal mortality – as an example, in a usual year, older people may be more likely to die in the Winter due to flu.
The data shows that in the first half of 2020, which covers the first wave of the coronavirus, England and the UK had the highest number of excess deaths.
Wales had the seventh highest excess deaths for the same period, behind Spain, Scotland, Belgium, and Italy.
However, looking at the year as a whole, the United Kingdom had a much lower number of excess deaths compared to other European countries, and Wales even more so.
For the whole of 2020, Wales saw 4.1% more deaths than expected, Poland saw 11.6% more, Spain 10.6% more, England 7.8% more and Scotland 5.7% more.
This table shows the 15 countries with the most excess deaths (measured by %) for 2020:
The data shows us that by the middle of 2020, Western European countries saw the highest cumulative measures of excess mortality, the highest being England (7.3%), Spain (5.9%), Scotland (5.3%), Belgium (3.5%).
In contrast to many western European countries, most eastern European countries saw an overall decline in mortality rates by this mid-point of the year.
However, though the summer months as coronavirus cases decreased, most countries saw a decline in the excess deaths, either keeping them at a constant level or decreasing below average.
Excess deaths began to pick up again in the autumn and winter months, with eastern European countries experiencing the biggest increase, but Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands too saw increasing levels of excess deaths.
In particular, Poland, Bulgaria and Czechia saw a large increase in excess deaths later in 2020, ending the year with morality rates more than 8% higher than the five-year average.
Across the whole of the UK, 126,000 coronavirus deaths have been recorded, the most among any European country.