Up to twice as many coronavirus deaths in the Netherlands as registered

Up to twice as many coronavirus deaths in the Netherlands as registered

A new report released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) has revealed that the true number of deaths caused by the coronavirus could be up to double the amount reported by the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM). 

True number of coronavirus deaths much higher than recorded

In a report published by CBS on coronavirus mortalities in the Netherlands, the statistics office reported that the number of people who died of coronavirus is likely 50 to 100 percent higher than the number recorded and reported by the RIVM. While it has been known since the initial outbreak of the virus that more people have died than has been reported, this report gives a true indication of the excess mortality 

Excess mortality is an epidemiological term to refer to the number of “extra” deaths in a period of time in comparison to what is expected under “normal” conditions. It is used to measure the number of deaths in a period of crisis (like a pandemic) when not all deaths have been officially recorded.

The report reveals that, between March 9 and May 24, the excess mortality was between 8.593 and 11.691, with these numbers revealing the minimum and maximum number of people who died from coronavirus in this time period. However, the number of recorded coronavirus deaths in that 11-week period was 5.900. CBS therefore calculates that, for every 10 registered deaths, between five and ten more people actually died of coronavirus, saying this conclusion can be drawn with 95 percent certainty. 

CBS used a new method (a dynamic regression model) to provide a consistent estimate of the uncertainty surrounding unreported coronavirus deaths, and to indicate the relationship between registered coronavirus deaths and total coronavirus deaths in the Netherlands.

Is a second wave on the way?

In the weekly coronavirus update published by the RIVM on Tuesday, July 28, 1.329 new infections were reported between July 21 and 28. While cases seem to be on the rise again, the RIVM reports that the percentage of people who tested positive has remained the same (one percent), suggesting that cases may not be rising as rapidly as perceived, and that instead more people are getting tested. 

However the reproduction number (R-number) has risen to 1.40, meaning that 100 coronavirus patients infect 140 other people. This is an increase from last week, when the R-number was 1.29.

Despite concerns that a second wave of the virus is making its way across Europe, the Dutch government has decided that there will be no national measure making the wearing of face masks in public places mandatory. However, the government has given municipalities and mayors the freedom to implement the rule locally if it is deemed necessary.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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